noun, often attributive
\ ˈwiŋ How to pronounce wing (audio) \
plural wings

Definition of wing

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : one of the movable feathered or membranous paired appendages by means of which a bird, bat, or insect is able to fly also : such an appendage (as of an ostrich) even though rudimentary or modified so no longer having the power of flight
b : any of various anatomical structures (as of a flying fish or flying lemur) providing means of limited flight
2 : an appendage or part resembling a wing in appearance, position, or function: such as
a : a device worn under the arms to aid a person in swimming or staying afloat water wings
b : ala
c : a turned-back or extended edge on an article of clothing
d : a sidepiece at the top of an armchair
e(1) : a foliaceous, membranous, or woody expansion of a plant especially along a stem or on a samara or capsule
(2) : either of the two lateral petals of a papilionaceous flower — compare keel sense 2b
f : a vane of a windmill or arrow
g : sail
h : an airfoil that develops a major part of the lift which supports a heavier-than-air aircraft
i chiefly British : fender sense d
3 : a means of flight or rapid progress
4 : the act or manner of flying : flight take wing
5 : a side or outlying region or district
6 : a part or feature of a building usually projecting from and subordinate to the main or central part the servants' wing
7a : one of the pieces of scenery at the side of a stage
b wings plural : the area at the side of the stage out of sight
8a : a left or right section of an army or fleet : flank
b : one of the offensive positions or players on either side of a center position in certain team sports also : flanker
9a : either of two opposing groups within an organization or society : faction
b : a section of an organized body (such as a legislative chamber) representing a group or faction holding distinct opinions or policies — compare left wing, right wing
10a : a unit of the U.S. Air Force higher than a group and lower than a division
b : two or more squadrons of naval airplanes
11 : a dance step marked by a quick outward and inward rolling glide of one foot
12 wings plural : insignia consisting of an outspread pair of stylized bird's wings which are awarded on completion of prescribed training to a qualified pilot, aircrew member, or military balloon pilot
in the wings
1 : out of sight in the stage wings
2 : close at hand in the background : readily available had a plan waiting in the wings
on the wing
1 : in flight : flying
2 : in motion
under one's wing
: under one's protection : in one's care took her under his wing


winged; winging; wings

Definition of wing (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to fit with wings
b : to enable to fly or move swiftly
2a : to traverse with or as if with wings
b : to effect or achieve by flying
3 : to let fly : dispatch would start to wing punches— A. J. Liebling
4a : to wound in the wing : disable the wing of winged the duck
b : to wound (as with a bullet) without killing winged by a sniper
5 : to do or perform without preparation or guidelines : improvise winging it

intransitive verb

: to go with or as if with wings : fly often used with itwinged it to Europe

Illustration of wing

Illustration of wing


wing 1a: parts of a bird's wing 1 coverts, 2 primaries, 3 secondaries

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from wing


wingy \ ˈwiŋ-​ē How to pronounce wing (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for wing

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of wing in a Sentence

Noun In the library's north wing, you'll find the current periodicals. She works in the pediatric wing of the hospital. The guest room is in the east wing. Verb The team winged to Moscow for the finals. She winged the ball over to first base. The soldier was winged by a stray bullet.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Mark Leffingwell was charged with seven federal counts, including resisting arrest and punching a Capitol Police officer as part of a large mob that tried to push through a police barrier in the Senate wing of the Capitol building. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "Federal prosecutors announce more Capitol siege charges as House votes to impeach Trump," 13 Jan. 2021 First published in 1974, this riveting memoir of breakdown is named for Ward 3, the psychiatric wing of the Chicago hospital where Howland was admitted after swallowing a bottle of pills. New York Times, "New & Noteworthy, From Russian Satire to the Comet Apocalypse," 5 Jan. 2021 The powerful euroskeptic wing of Johnson's Conservative Party, which fought for years for the seemingly longshot goal of taking Britain out of the EU, gave its backing to the deal. Fox News, "British lawmakers approve post-Brexit trade deal with EU," 31 Dec. 2020 Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, who heads the youth wing of the world’s largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama, will become religious affairs minister, replacing Fachrul Razi. Arys Aditya,, "Jokowi Replaces Indonesia Health Minister as Covid Deaths Spike," 22 Dec. 2020 President-elect Joe Biden has pledged a tougher line on Wall Street and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is eager to crack down on private equity. Brian Spegele And Laura Cooper, WSJ, "Risky Loans Secure Private-Equity Payouts Despite Downturn," 17 Dec. 2020 Police have identified a man who was arrested after getting on the tarmac and climbing onto the wing of a plane that was preparing to take off from Las Vegas' airport. CBS News, "Video shows man walking on wing of Alaska Airlines flight before takeoff at Las Vegas airport," 14 Dec. 2020 Police have arrested a man who managed to climb the wing of a departing Alaska Airlines plane at Las Vegas's McCarran International Airport on Saturday. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "Man climbs on wing of Alaska Airlines plane departing Las Vegas airport, takes off shoes and socks," 14 Dec. 2020 Investigators believe the man jumped a perimeter fence and climbed onto the wing of an Alaska Airlines flight headed to Portland, Oregon., "Trespasser climbs onto wing of a plane at Las Vegas’ airport," 13 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Duong, whose parents consume their news in Vietnamese, saw for years how her parents turned to right-wing Vietnamese pages on Youtube, which spread inaccurate information about politics and the pandemic. NBC News, "The year in young Asian Americans doing the political organizing that campaigns didn't," 19 Dec. 2020 Don’t wing it or make last-minute changes and expect the same results. John Kennedy, Popular Science, "Go full-on mad scientist by making your own Halloween candy," 3 Nov. 2020 But rest assured, general manager Rick Hahn and pitching coach Don Cooper were involved in the game-planning and Renteria is not going to wing it. Paul Sullivan,, "Who will be the starting pitcher? 4 things to look for in Game 3 of the White Sox-A’s wild-card series.," 1 Oct. 2020 For his part, Trump prefers to wing it, even for something as important as Tuesday’s debate. John Wildermuth,, "Trump-Biden debate: In year of virus, a rare moment of normal politics," 29 Sep. 2020 What is college football to do with the CFP: set some standards or just wing it? oregonlive, "Where is former Pac-12 commissioner Tom Hansen when we really need him? Issues & Answers," 23 Sep. 2020 The Stars could insert Justin Dowling and shift either him or Jason Dickinson to wing, or go with a fourth-line energy winger like Nick Caamano. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "In Stars’ Game 2 loss, Lightning took advantage of one of Anton Khudobin’s biggest strengths," 22 Sep. 2020 This hints at the major element driving so many millions of birds to wing out of the north — the coming lack of food. Val Cunningham Contributing Writer, Star Tribune, "Bird migration is like an aerial rush hour," 15 Sep. 2020 In the spring, a lot of teachers had to wing it in the emergency switch to remote learning. Jill Tucker,, "School is about to start, but Bay Area teachers’ unions and districts still can’t agree on key details for online learning," 31 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wing.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of wing


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1591, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for wing


Middle English winge, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Danish & Swedish vinge wing; akin to Sanskrit vāti it blows — more at wind entry 1

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Time Traveler for wing

Time Traveler

The first known use of wing was in the 12th century

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Statistics for wing

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for wing


How to pronounce wing (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wing

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a part of an animal's body that is used for flying or gliding
: the wing of a bird and especially a chicken eaten as food
: one of usually two long, flat parts of an airplane that extend from the sides and make it possible for the airplane to fly



English Language Learners Definition of wing (Entry 2 of 2)

: to travel to a place by flying there
US, informal : to throw (something) forcefully
US, informal : to touch or hit (someone or something) especially in the arm or wing while moving past


\ ˈwiŋ How to pronounce wing (audio) \

Kids Definition of wing

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one of the paired movable feathered or membranous parts with which a bird, bat, or insect flies
2 : something like a wing in appearance, use, or motion the wings of an airplane
3 : a part (as of a building) that sticks out from the main part
4 : a division of an organization
5 wings plural : an area just off the stage of a theater
on the wing
: in flight

Other Words from wing

wingless \ -​ləs \ adjective
winglike \ -​ˌlīk \ adjective


winged; winging

Kids Definition of wing (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to move by means of wings : fly
2 : throw entry 1 sense 1 I'd … wing a dart at the closest bull's-eye.— Jack Gantos, Joey Pigza Loses Control


\ ˈwiŋ How to pronounce wing (audio) \

Medical Definition of wing

1 : one of the movable feathered or membranous paired appendages by means of which a bird, bat, or insect is able to fly
2 : a winglike anatomical part or process : ala especially : any of the four winglike processes of the sphenoid bone — see greater wing, lesser wing

Other Words from wing

winged \ ˈwiŋd How to pronounce wing (audio) , ˈwiŋ-​əd How to pronounce wing (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on wing

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