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 Curved arcs of concrete wing walls rise from the riverbed a few feet upstream, gathering the water in toward the barriers and the gates. Simon Winchester, Wired, "How Albert Einstein's Son Tamed the Mississippi River," 11 May 2020 Batcho is a forward and Bennedict is a wing player. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Pac-12 basketball recruiting rankings: Arizona surges to top, ASU impresses in 2020 class," 8 May 2020 The flyovers were fit into the wing’s regular training missions so as to not incur additional costs to taxpayers, according to a press release from the 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs office. David Petkiewicz, cleveland, "See ‘Hercs Over America’ aircraft fly over Cleveland skies Thursday honoring frontline workers (photos)," 7 May 2020 The method, known as cloud seeding, typically involves releasing flares of silver iodide from an aircraft's wing to generate more ice particles in a cloud. Fox News, "North Korea tests cloud seeding, 'making it rain' after devastating droughts," 5 May 2020 Her mother, negative for the virus, has since been moved to a different wing because her old area is used for infected residents. ProPublica, "Texas Still Won’t Say Which Nursing Homes Have COVID-19 Cases. Families Are Demanding Answers.," 3 May 2020 Tip plates along the sides keep high-pressure air moving over the wing. David Beard, Car and Driver, "Weighing in at 1400 Pounds, with 900 Horsepower, Outlaws Drift Like Champs," 3 May 2020 In the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, a private elementary school asked students to make hats with 3-foot-long cardboard wings when classes resumed in late April to learn about social distancing. Su-hyun Lee,, "Across the globe, cities slowly emerging from quarantine face ‘new normal’," 2 May 2020 The Mavericks traded for Willie Cauley-Stein for some insurance in Powell’s absence, but didn’t address much in the way of their wing play. Sportsday Staff, Dallas News, "Mavericks roundtable: Just how much higher can Luka Doncic elevate his game?," 1 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Brown will be 'winging' it Second-year guard Bruce Brown, who started a good chunk of the season at the point, with Jackson sidelined by a back ailment, will spend most of his time at the wing positions. Dana Gauruder, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' second half of season will be about positioning for future," 19 Feb. 2020 In the entree round, the judges are eager to find out if the chefs can wing it with squab, a young domestic pigeon, and the dessert round puzzle includes a wild pizza pie and purple tuber yam. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "This Louisville chef battles it out, again, on 'Chopped.' Does he have the skills to win?," 28 Jan. 2020 At that very moment, high over the Pacific Ocean, a Chinese executive named Meng Wanzhou was winging her way from Shenzhen to Mexico. Garrett M. Graff, Wired, "Inside the Feds’ Battle Against Huawei," 16 Jan. 2020 Bell claims that the Nexus craft should be able to wing some 60 miles, hit 150 mph, carry five people total, and do so all with electric propulsion. Rob Verger, Popular Science, "Bell’s sleek new electric air taxi design promises speeds of 150 mph and a 60-mile range," 8 Jan. 2020 Many are winging it through their financial lives without confidence in their ability to afford retirement, an emergency expense or even daily living costs, according to a survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Washington Post, "Millennial Money: Money rules of thumb can be handy," 24 Dec. 2019 Halfway through the fourth quarter against the Rockets, when Houston had nearly closed the gap with Dallas, Dončić winged a pass from behind the arc to Kristaps Porziņģis, on the far side of the basket, below the rim. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "Giving Thanks for Luka Doncic," 26 Nov. 2019

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

14 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 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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