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 wingy (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 In June, Memorial Hospital converted its closed maternity wing into a temporary unit that could treat COVID-19 patients, with the help of $1.3 million in federal emergency funds through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. ProPublica, "She Needed Lifesaving Medication, but the Only Hospital in Town Did Not Have It," 2 July 2020 In the meantime, a group called Swadeshi Jagran Manch, a branch of the right-wing Hindu nationalist party Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, is leading calls in India to cease purchases of Chinese goods. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "How India’s ‘Made in China’ boycott could backfire," 30 June 2020 Fillon angrily denied any wrongdoing after the accusations emerged, lashed out against the news media and pressed on as the candidate for the right-wing conservative Républicains party. Aurelien Breeden,, "François Fillon, ex-presidential hopeful in France, is convicted of embezzlement," 29 June 2020 President Andrzej Duda, the candidate of the governing right-wing Law and Justice party is battling against a slate of 10 other candidates including the liberal mayor of Warsaw Rafał Trzaskowski. Loveday Morris, Washington Post, "Polish president battles for reelection just days after White House visit," 28 June 2020 Mandeville was diagnosed with Covid-19 and sent to a nearby hospital, forming a sort of veterans wing with dozens of others transferred from Soldiers' Home. Ryan Prior, CNN, "'They sent them literally into a death trap': Families recall horror as Covid-19 ravaged Massachusetts veterans home," 26 June 2020 Thompson, whose locker was intentionally next to Garland’s this season, has taken the youngster under his wing and spoke in March about his desire to get Garland into the weight room. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Darius Garland never felt like himself this season, wants to show he is ‘way better’ than rookie year," 25 June 2020 Protests, which have included some looting and violence, have spread to the demolition of statues of Confederate figures by left-wing activists. Kerry Picket, Washington Examiner, "Josh Hawley tries to block Warren effort at stripping Confederate names from military bases," 24 June 2020 But some right-wing activists certainly use references to historical violence to signal a very real intent to replicate past atrocities. Parker Richards, The New Republic, "The Fall and Rise of the Guillotine," 12 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb At over 10 pounds, adult loons are generally too large for a bald eagle to kill and wing back to its nest. Jason Bittel, National Geographic, "Why did a loon stab a bald eagle through the heart?," 27 May 2020 Billions of the young desert locusts are winging in from breeding grounds in Somalia in search of fresh vegetation springing up with seasonal rains., "A Much Larger Wave of Locusts Is Threatening East Africa," 8 May 2020 Billions of the young desert locusts are winging in from breeding grounds in Somalia in search of fresh vegetation springing up with seasonal rains. Rodney Muhumuza, USA TODAY, "Billions of locusts ravage East Africa, and coronavirus has made them harder to stop," 11 Apr. 2020 The tap on my neck, and the roar of the shotgun, and the gobbler winging out of sight seemed to happen all in same moment. Will Brantley, Field & Stream, "How to Take Your Father Turkey Hunting," 19 May 2020 There, backlit by the rising sun, were two dozen swans — each as large as a Thanksgiving turkey — winging their way into Alaska. Anchorage Daily News, "We have been grounded, but migrating birds have not," 9 May 2020 Billions of the young desert locusts are winging in from breeding grounds in Somalia in search of fresh vegetation springing up with seasonal rains., "A Much Larger Wave of Locusts Is Threatening East Africa," 8 May 2020 Billions of the young desert locusts are winging in from breeding grounds in Somalia in search of fresh vegetation springing up with seasonal rains. Rodney Muhumuza, The Christian Science Monitor, "A different plague: Africa battles next big wave of locusts," 10 Apr. 2020 Having workouts already planned out will save you the stress of walking into a hotel gym and having to wing it. Harry Guinness, Popular Science, "How to fit in a workout while you travel," 22 Jan. 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

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on wing

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wing

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wing

Spanish Central: Translation of wing

Nglish: Translation of wing for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wing for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about wing

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