Definitions for fly
This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word fly.
two-winged insects characterized by active flight
tent-fly, rainfly, fly sheet, fly, tent flapnoun
flap consisting of a piece of canvas that can be drawn back to provide entrance to a tent
fly, fly frontnoun
an opening in a garment that is closed by a zipper or by buttons concealed under a fold of cloth
fly, fly ballnoun
(baseball) a hit that flies up in the air
fisherman's lure consisting of a fishhook decorated to look like an insect
(British informal) not to be deceived or hoodwinked
travel through the air; be airborne
"Man cannot fly"
move quickly or suddenly
"He flew about the place"
fly, aviate, pilotverb
operate an airplane
"The pilot flew to Cuba"
transport by aeroplane
"We fly flowers from the Caribbean to North America"
cause to fly or float
"fly a kite"
be dispersed or disseminated
"Rumors and accusations are flying"
change quickly from one emotional state to another
"fly into a rage"
fly, fell, vanishverb
pass away rapidly
"Time flies like an arrow"; "Time fleeing beneath him"
travel in an airplane
"she is flying to Cincinnati tonight"; "Are we driving or flying?"
display in the air or cause to float
"fly a kite"; "All nations fly their flags in front of the U.N."
flee, fly, take flightverb
run away quickly
"He threw down his gun and fled"
travel over (an area of land or sea) in an aircraft
"Lindbergh was the first to fly the Atlantic"
hit a fly
vanish, fly, vaporizeverb
decrease rapidly and disappear
"the money vanished in las Vegas"; "all my stock assets have vaporized"
(Baseball) A batted ball that flies to a considerable distance, usually high in the air; also, the flight of a ball so struck; as, it was caught on the fly. Also called fly ball.
Any insect of the order Diptera; characterized by having two wings, also called true flies.
Especially, any of the insects of the family Muscidae, such as the common housefly (other families of Diptera include mosquitoes and midges).
Any similar, but unrelated insect such as dragonfly or butterfly.
A lightweight fishing lure resembling an insect.
A chest exercise performed by moving extended arms from the sides to in front of the chest. (also flye)
The action of flying; flight.
An act of flying.
We had a quick half-hour fly back into the city.
A fly ball.
A type of small, fast carriage.
A piece of canvas that covers the opening at the front of a tent.
A strip of material hiding the zipper, buttons etc. at the front of a pair of trousers, pants, or underpants.
The free edge of a flag.
The horizontal length of a flag.
butterfly a form of swimming
To hit a fly ball; to hit a fly ball that is caught for an out. Compare ground (verb) and line (verb).
Jones flied to right in his last at-bat.
To travel through the air, another gas or a vacuum, without being in contact with a grounded surface.
Jones flied to right in his last at-bat.
To flee, to escape.
Fly, my lord! The enemy are upon us!
To cause to fly : to transport via air or the like.
To be accepted, come about or work out.
To travel very fast.
Exercises that evolve wide opening and closing of the arms perpendicular to the shoulders
Quick-witted, alert, mentally sharp, smart (in a mental sense).
be assured, O man of sinpilferer of small wares and petty larcenerthat there is an eye within keenly glancing from some loophole contrived between accordions and tin breastplates that watches your every movement, and is " fly," to use a term peculiarly comprehensible to dishonest mindsto the slightest gesture of illegal conveyancing. (Charles Dickens, "Arcadia"; Household Words Vol.7 p.381)
Well dressed, smart in appearance.
He's pretty fly for a white guy.
Beautiful; displaying physical beauty.
Samuel Johnson's Dictionary
Etymology: fleoge, Saxon.
As flies to wanton boys, are we to th’ gods;
They kill us for their sport. William Shakespeare, King Lear.
My country neighbours begin to think of being in general, before they come to think of the fly in their sheep, or the tares in their corn. John Locke.
To prevent the fly, some propose to sow ashes with the seed. John Mortimer, Husbandry.
To heedless flies the window proves
A constant death. James Thomson, Summer.
If we suppose a man tied in the place of the weight, it were easy, by a single hair fastened unto the fly or balance of the jack, to draw him up from the ground. John Wilkins.
Love like a shadow flies, when substance love pursues;
Pursuing that which flies, and flying what pursues. William Shakespeare.
O Jove, I think
Foundations fly the wretched; such I mean,
Where they should be relieved. William Shakespeare.
If you fly physick in health altogether, it will be too strange for your body when you shall need it. Francis Bacon, Essays.
O whither shall I run, or which way fly
The sight of this so horrid spectacle. John Milton, Agonistes.
Sleep flies the wretch; or when with cares opprest,
And his toss’d limbs are weary’d into rest,
Then dreams invade. John Dryden, Juvenal, Sat. 13.
Nature flies him like enchanted ground. Dryden.
Dedalus, to fly the Cretan shore,
His heavy limbs on jointed pinions bore,
The first who sail’d in air. John Dryden, Æn. b. vi.
If a man can tame this monster, and with her fly other ravening fowl, and kill them, it is somewhat worth. Francis Bacon.
pret. flew or fled; part. fled or flown.
Etymology: fleogan , Saxon.
Ere the bat hath flown
His cloister’d flight. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.
Fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. Gen. i. 20.
These men’s hastiness the warier sort of you do not commend: ye wish they had held themselves longer in, and not flown so dangerously abroad before the feathers of the cause had been grown. Richard Hooker.
Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward. Job v.
Ev’n a romance, a tune, a rhime,
Help thee to pass the tedious time,
Which else would on thy hand remain;
Though flown, it ne’er looks back again. Matthew Prior.
The scouts with flying speed
Return, and through the city spread the news. Dryden.
Earth rolls back beneath the flying steed. Alexander Pope.
A servant that he bred, thrill’d with remorse;
Oppos’d against the act, bending his sword
To his great master; who, thereat enrag’d,
Flew on him, and amongst them fell’d him dead. William Shakespeare.
Though the dogs have never seen the dog killer, yet they will come forth, and bark and fly at him. Francis Bacon, Nat. Hist.
No honour, no fortune, can keep a man from being miserable, when an enraged conscience shall fly at him, and take him by the throat. Robert South, Sermons.
Glad to catch this good occasion,
Most thoroughly to be winnow’d, where my chaff
And corn shall fly asunder. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.
A fair example to his master gave;
He bassas heads, to save his own, made fly;
And now, the sultan to preserve, must die. Edmund Waller.
Behold, a frothy substance rise;
Be cautious, or your bottle flies. Jonathan Swift.
Which when the valiant elf perceiv’d, he leapt,
As lion fierce, upon the flying prey. Edmund Spenser.
Macduff is fled to England. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.
Ye shall flee, as ye fled from before the earthquake. Zech. xiv. 5.
Abiathar escaped, and fled after David. 1 Sa. xxii. 20.
What wonder if the kindly beams he shed,
Reviv’d the drooping arts again;
If science rais’d her head,
And soft humanity, that from rebellion fled. Dryden.
He oft desir’d to fly from Israel’s throne,
And live in shades with her and love alone. Matthew Prior.
I’ll fly from shepherds, flocks, and flow’ry plains;
From shepherds, flocks, and plains I may remove,
Forsake mankind, and all the world but love. Alexander Pope.
This would discourage any man from doing you good, when you will either neglect him, or fly in his face; and he must expect only danger to himself. Jonathan Swift, Drapier’s Letters.
Fly in nature’s face:
—— But how, if nature fly in my face first?
—— Then nature’s the aggressor. John Dryden, Spanish Fryar.
Deny to speak with me? They’re sick, they’re weary,
They have travell’d all the night! mean fetches;
The images of revolt, and flying off. William Shakespeare, King Lear.
The traytor Syphax
Flew off at once with his Numidian horse. Joseph Addison, Cato.
How easy is a noble spirit discern’d,
From harsh and sulphurous matter that flies out
In contumelies, makes a noise, and stinks. Ben Jonson, Catil.
Passion is apt to ruffle, and pride will fly out into contumely and neglect. Jeremy Collier, of Friendship.
You use me like a courser spurr’d and rein’d:
If I fly out, my fierceness you command. Dryden.
Papists, when unopposed, fly out into all the pageantries of worship; but in times of war, when they are hard pressed by arguments, lie close intrenched behind the council of Trent. John Dryden, Medal, Dedicat.
All bodies, moved circularly, have a perpetual endeavour to recede from the centre, and every moment would fly out in right lines, if they were not restrained. Richard Bentley, Sermons.
The noisy culverin, o’ercharg’d, lets fly,
And bursts, unaiming, in the rended sky. George Granville.
"The Black Fly Song" is a song by Wade Hemsworth, written in 1949, about being tormented by black flies while working in the wilds of Northern Ontario. It is an enduring classic of Canadian folk music, covered by a variety of other artists. A new version of the song (with accompanying vocals by Kate & Anna McGarrigle) which had a completely different tempo than the original, was made into an animated short film entitled Blackfly by Christopher Hinton and the National Film Board in 1991, and was nominated for Best Animated Short Film at the 64th Academy Awards in 1992.
Fly is a verb that generally means to move or travel through the air using wings, or to make an object or entity move or float in the air. It can also refer to the action of operating an aircraft or to be in control of its direction and movement. As a noun, it can refer to an insect of the order Diptera, typically characterized by two pairs of wings, as well as the act of flying or a journey by air. Additionally, "fly" can be used as an adjective to describe something stylish, modern, or fashionable.
to move in or pass thorugh the air with wings, as a bird
to move through the air or before the wind; esp., to pass or be driven rapidly through the air by any impulse
to float, wave, or rise in the air, as sparks or a flag
to move or pass swiftly; to hasten away; to circulate rapidly; as, a ship flies on the deep; a top flies around; rumor flies
to run from danger; to attempt to escape; to flee; as, an enemy or a coward flies. See Note under Flee
to move suddenly, or with violence; to do an act suddenly or swiftly; -- usually with a qualifying word; as, a door flies open; a bomb flies apart
to cause to fly or to float in the air, as a bird, a kite, a flag, etc
to fly or flee from; to shun; to avoid
to hunt with a hawk
any winged insect; esp., one with transparent wings; as, the Spanish fly; firefly; gall fly; dragon fly
any dipterous insect; as, the house fly; flesh fly; black fly. See Diptera, and Illust. in Append
a hook dressed in imitation of a fly, -- used for fishing
a familiar spirit; a witch's attendant
a kind of light carriage for rapid transit, plying for hire and usually drawn by one horse
the length of an extended flag from its staff; sometimes, the length from the "union" to the extreme end
the part of a vane pointing the direction from which the wind blows
that part of a compass on which the points are marked; the compass card
two or more vanes set on a revolving axis, to act as a fanner, or to equalize or impede the motion of machinery by the resistance of the air, as in the striking part of a clock
a heavy wheel, or cross arms with weights at the ends on a revolving axis, to regulate or equalize the motion of machinery by means of its inertia, where the power communicated, or the resistance to be overcome, is variable, as in the steam engine or the coining press. See Fly wheel (below)
the piece hinged to the needle, which holds the engaged loop in position while the needle is penetrating another loop; a latch
the pair of arms revolving around the bobbin, in a spinning wheel or spinning frame, to twist the yarn
a shuttle driven through the shed by a blow or jerk
formerly, the person who took the printed sheets from the press
a vibrating frame with fingers, attached to a power to a power printing press for doing the same work
the outer canvas of a tent with double top, usually drawn over the ridgepole, but so extended as to touch the roof of the tent at no other place
one of the upper screens of a stage in a theater
the fore flap of a bootee; also, a lap on trousers, overcoats, etc., to conceal a row of buttons
a batted ball that flies to a considerable distance, usually high in the air; also, the flight of a ball so struck; as, it was caught on the fly
knowing; wide awake; fully understanding another's meaning
Etymology: [OE. flie, flege, AS. flge, flege, fr. flegan to fly; akin to D. vlieg, OHG. flioga, G. fliege, Icel. & Sw. fluga, Dan. flue. 84. See Fly, v. i.]
True flies are insects of the order Diptera. Their most obvious distinction from other orders of insects is that a typical fly possesses a pair of flight wings on the mesothorax and a pair of halteres, derived from the hind wings, on the metathorax.. The only other order of insects bearing two true, functional wings plus any form of halteres are the Strepsiptera, and in contrast to the flies, the Strepsiptera bear their halteres on the mesothorax and their flight wings on the metathorax.
Chambers 20th Century Dictionary
flī, v.i. to move through the air on wings: to move swiftly: to pass away: to flee: to burst quickly or suddenly: to flutter.—v.t. to avoid, flee from: to cause to fly, as a kite:—pr.p. fly′ing; pa.t. flew (flōō); pa.p. flown (flōn).—n. a popular name best restricted in its simplicity to the insects forming the order Diptera, but often so widely used with a prefix—e.g. butterfly, dragon-fly, May-fly—as to be virtually equivalent to insect: a fish-hook dressed with silk, &c., in imitation of a fly: a light double-seated carriage, a hackney-coach: (mech.) a flywheel: (pl.) the large space above the proscenium in a theatre, from which the scenes, &c., are controlled.—adj. wide-awake: (slang) knowing.—adjs. Fly′away, flighty; Fly′-bit′ten, marked by the bite of flies.—n. Fly′blow, the egg of a fly.—adj. Fly′blown, tainted with the eggs which produce maggots.—ns. Fly′boat, a long, narrow, swift boat used on canals; Fly′book, a case like a book for holding fishing-flies; Fly′-catch′er, a small bird, so called from its catching flies while on the wing; Fly′-fish′er, one who fishes with artificial flies as bait; Fly′-fish′ing, the art of so fishing; Fly′-flap′per, one who drives away flies with a fly-flap; Fly′ing-bridge, a kind of ferry-boat which is moved across a river by the action of the combined forces of the stream and the resistance of a long rope or chain made fast to a fixed buoy in the middle of the river; Fly′ing-butt′ress, an arch-formed prop which connects the walls of the upper and central portions of an aisled structure with the vertical buttresses of the outer walls; Fly′ing-camp, a body of troops for rapid motion from one place to another; Fly′ing-Dutch′man, a Dutch black spectral ship, whose captain is condemned for his impieties to sweep the seas around the Cape of Storms unceasingly, without ever being able to reach a haven; Fly′ing-fish, a fish which can leap from the water and sustain itself in the air for a short time, by its long pectoral fins, as if flying; Fly′ing-fox, a large frugivorous bat; Fly′ing-lē′mur, a galeopithecoid insectivore whose fore and hind limbs are connected by a fold of skin, enabling it to make flying leaps from tree to tree; Fly′ing-par′ty, a small body of soldiers, equipped for rapid movements, used to harass an enemy; Fly′ing-phalan′ger, a general popular name for the petaurists; Fly′ing-shot, a shot fired at something in motion; Fly′ing-squid, a squid having broad lateral fins by means of which it can spring high out of the water; Fly′ing-squirr′el, a name given to two genera of squirrels, which have a fold of skin between the fore and hind legs, by means of which they can take great leaps in the air; Fly′leaf, a blank leaf at the beginning and end of a book; Fly′-line, a line for angling with an artificial fly; Fly′-mak′er, one who ties artificial flies for angling; Fly′man, one who works the ropes in the flies of a theatre; Fly′pāper, a porous paper impregnated with poison for destroying flies; Fly′-pow′der, a poisonous powder used for killing flies; Fly′-rail, that part of a table which turns out to support the leaf.—adj. (Shak.) moving slow as a fly on its feet.—ns. Fly′-rod, a light flexible rod used in fly-fishing, usually in three pieces—butt, second-joint, and tip; Fly′-trap, a trap to catch flies: (bot.) the spreading dog-bane, also the Venus's fly-trap; Fly′wheel, a large wheel with a heavy rim applied to machinery to equalise the effect of the driving effort.—Fly at, to attack suddenly; Fly in the face of, to insult: to oppose; Fly open, to open suddenly or violently; Fly out, to break out in a rage; Fly the kite, to obtain money as by accommodation bills, the endorser himself having no money; Fly upon, to seize: to attack.—A fly in the ointment, some slight flaw which corrupts a thing of value (Eccles. x. i.); Break a fly on the wheel, to subject to a punishment out of all proportion to the gravity of the offence; Let fly, to attack: to throw or send off; Make the feathers fly (see Feathers). [A.S. fléogan, pa.t. fleáh; Ger. fliegen.]
The Roycroft Dictionary
A sententious, epigrammatic stylist who puts a period after each utterance.
The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz
A familiar summer boarder who mingles with the cream of society, gets stuck on the butter and leaves his specs behind.
Dictionary of Nautical Terms
Placed on the magnetic-needle and supported by a pin, whereon it turns freely. (See compass.)
Military Dictionary and Gazetteer
The length of a flag. The dimension at right angles to the staff. The other dimension is called the hoist.
To control an aircraft, airplane or vehicle that moves or travels through the air.
The pilot's love to fly during the night as the night sky is so beautiful.
Submitted by MaryC on July 30, 2016
To travel in an aircraft or airplane or vehicle that moves or travels through the air.
They love to fly at night through the night sky.
Submitted by MaryC on January 9, 2020
To travel through the air.
We love to fly on aircraft it's such a joyful experience.
Submitted by MaryC on January 28, 2020
Etymology and Origins
Provincial for a hansom cab. When one looks at such a hackney carriage it suggests a sedan-chair on wheels. Such a vehicle, introduced at Brighton for invalids, was a great favourite with George IV. then Prince of Wales, who often requisitioned it for a night frolic. Called by him on account of its lightness a “fly-by-night,” its name became abbreviated into a “fly.”
Surnames Frequency by Census Records
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Fly is ranked #14042 in terms of the most common surnames in America.
The Fly surname appeared 2,145 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 1 would have the surname Fly.
82.2% or 1,765 total occurrences were White.
11.8% or 254 total occurrences were Black.
2.3% or 50 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
1.7% or 37 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
1.3% or 28 total occurrences were of two or more races.
0.5% or 11 total occurrences were Asian.
British National Corpus
Spoken Corpus Frequency
Rank popularity for the word 'fly' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #3416
Written Corpus Frequency
Rank popularity for the word 'fly' in Written Corpus Frequency: #3402
Rank popularity for the word 'fly' in Nouns Frequency: #2159
Rank popularity for the word 'fly' in Verbs Frequency: #249
The numerical value of fly in Chaldean Numerology is: 3
The numerical value of fly in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7
Empty leaves fly with the wind, Empty people fly over time.
If you don't like the president, it costs you 90 bucks to fly to Washington to picket. If you don't like the governor, it costs you 60 bucks to fly to Albany to picket. If you don't like me, 90 cents.
We sat outside the studio at night, among a few candles, and closed our eyes for a minute. After that, we jammed straight from our hearts. We didn't play for ourselves, but for the ones no longer with us in flesh, but always with us in spirit. God bless. Until we meet again. Soul fly... fly free
It's surreal to be honest, this is a country and the country's on fire, so it was very difficult to process for me because we're used to fly out, do some stuff, experience some things and always fly back. And here I am unable to fly home. That to me was the biggest sort of moment of understanding like you're in trouble.
. The new strike bomber will start deploying in about a decade. The aircraft is expected to replace the nearly four-decades old B-1 as well as the legendary B-52 Stratofortress that has served the country for about six decades. Related : Marine Corps ' new helicopter completes Marine Corps ' new helicopter first flight This new bomber will be fully loaded with lots of technologies and next-gen innovations that are cloaked in secrecy. Marine Corps ' new helicopter may even withstand nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulses( EMPs) and still operate. What will Marine Corps ' new helicopter be like ? The military has kept details of the wish list for its new bomber classified. During the Super Bowl, Northrop Grumman’s ad featured a new aircraft shrouded in mystery – literally cloaked at one point. Some industry experts believe this was a representation of Northrop’s vision for the new mysterious bomber. B-2 We can look to the B-2 bomber, also made by Northrop Grumman, for an idea of what we might expect. The B-2 aircraft has been a mainstay for the military with The B-2 aircraft stealth long-range and big payload strike bomber capabilities. Related : Navy taps Raytheon for sophisticated' last chance' gun system The B-2 Spirit Bomber carries a crew of two and took its first flight in 1989 and entered the operational fleet in 1993. The original B-2 fleet was 21 aircraft. The four 19,000-pound-thrust F118-GE engines give the B-2 its power, allowing it to fly more than 600 miles per hour. With a 172-foot wingspan, the B-2 can fly to a ceiling of 50,000 feet. B-2 is built for stealth. During the Cold War, it was designed to beat air defense systems, penetrating deep into Soviet Union airspace and deliver a nuclear bomb if necessary. Cold War design allows it to evade radar and makes it tough to detect. Instead of metal, the structure is made from advanced composites like resin-impregnated graphite fiber. Related : Meet' Viper' - the newest F-16 Fighter The aircraft can travel a very long range - to approximately 6,000 nautical miles. If the aircraft is refueled while in the air, then it can fly even farther - an additional 4,000 miles without landing. The B-2 Spirit Bomber can carry more than 40,000 pounds of nuclear or conventional munitions – that’s the kind of power that can dramatically change the battle space in one flight. The aircraft is designed to deliver these munitions precisely on target even in adverse weather conditions. Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri is home to the majority of the current B-2 fleet. The aircraft has deployed recently in combat in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq. Related : 11 stunning F-22 fighter jet images Since it was introduced more than 20 years ago, many advances have been incorporated to improve the B-2's lethality. The aircraft’s ability to receive updated target data while in the midst of a mission was also improved. Other upgrade programs improved the B-2’s capabilities to collect, process and then distribute battlefield data to teams throughout the world. The sleek B-2 has a unique flying wing design that supports its radar evasion and hard to detect design. The Super Bowl commercial showed a sort of bat wing shape, similar to B-2, but the specs of the new plane have remained secret. The Air Force has made the right decision for our nation's security, as the company that developed and delivered the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, we look forward to providing The Air Force with a highly-capable and affordable next-generation Long-Range Strike Bomber.
Popularity rank by frequency of use
Translations for fly
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