fly

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English[edit]

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Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Old English flȳġe, flēoge. Cognate with Scots flee, Dutch vlieg, German Fliege, Swedish fluga.

Noun[edit]

A fly (insect)

fly (plural flies)

  1. (zoology) Any insect of the order Diptera; characterized by having two wings, also called true flies.
    • 2012 January 1, Douglas Larson, “Runaway Devils Lake”, American Scientist, volume 100, number 1, page 46: 
      Devils Lake is where I began my career as a limnologist in 1964, studying the lake’s neotenic salamanders and chironomids, or midge flies. […] The Devils Lake Basin is an endorheic, or closed, basin covering about 9,800 square kilometers in northeastern North Dakota.
  2. (non-technical) Especially, any of the insects of the family Muscidae, such as the common housefly (other families of Diptera include mosquitoes and midges).
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 5, Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      When you're well enough off so's you don't have to fret about anything but your heft or your diseases you begin to get queer, I suppose. And the queerer the cure for those ailings the bigger the attraction. A place like the Right Livers' Rest was bound to draw freaks, same as molasses draws flies.
  3. Any similar, but unrelated insect such as dragonfly or butterfly.
  4. (fishing) A lightweight fishing lure resembling an insect.
  5. (weightlifting) A chest exercise performed by moving extended arms from the sides to in front of the chest. (also flye)
  6. (obsolete) A witch's familiar.
    • Ben Jonson
      a trifling fly, none of your great familiars
  7. (obsolete) A parasite.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Massinger to this entry?)
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

External links[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English flien, from Old English flēogan, from Proto-Germanic *fleuganą (compare Saterland Frisian fljooge, Dutch vliegen, Low German flegen, German fliegen, Danish flyve), from Proto-Indo-European *pleuk-, *pleu-k- (cf. Lithuanian plaũkti ‘to swim’), enlargement of *pleu- ‘flow’. More at flow.

Verb[edit]

fly (third-person singular simple present flies, present participle flying, simple past flew, past participle flown)

  1. (intransitive) To travel through the air, another gas, or a vacuum, without being in contact with a grounded surface.
    • G. K. Chesterton
      Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.
    • 2013 September 7, “On a bright new wing”, The Economist, volume 408, number 8852: 
      Flying using only the power of the sun is an enticing prospect. But manned solar-powered aircraft are fragile and slow, […].
    Birds of passage fly to warmer regions as it gets colder in winter.   The Concorde flew from Paris to New York faster than any other passenger airplane.   It takes about eleven hours to fly from Frankfurt to Hongkong.   The little fairy flew home on the back of her friend, the giant eagle.
  2. (transitive, intransitive, archaic, poetic) To flee, to escape (from).
    Fly, my lord! The enemy are upon us!
  3. (transitive, ergative) To cause to fly (travel or float in the air): to transport via air or the like.
    • W. S. Gilbert
      The brave black flag I fly.
    • 2013 September 7, “On a bright new wing”, The Economist, volume 408, number 8852: 
      A solar-powered unmanned aerial system (a UAS, more commonly called a drone) could fly long, lonely missions that conventional aircraft would not be capable of.
    Charles Lindbergh flew his airplane The Spirit of St. Louis across the Atlantic ocean.   Why don’t you go outside and fly kites, kids? The wind is just perfect.   Birds fly their prey to their nest to feed it to their young.   Each day the post flies thousands of letters around the globe.
  4. (intransitive, colloquial, of a proposal, project or idea) To be accepted, come about or work out.
    Let's see if that idea flies.   You know, I just don't think that's going to fly. Why don't you spend your time on something better?
  5. (intransitive) To travel very fast.
    • John Milton
      Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race.
    • Bryant
      The dark waves murmured as the ships flew on.
    • 2011 September 18, Ben Dirs, “Rugby World Cup 2011: England 41-10 Georgia”, BBC Sport:
      After yet another missed penalty by Kvirikashvili from bang in front of the posts, England scored again, centre Tuilagi flying into the line and touching down under the bar.
  6. To move suddenly, or with violence; to do an act suddenly or swiftly.
    a door flies open;  a bomb flies apart
  7. To hunt with a hawk.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Francis Bacon to this entry?)
Synonyms[edit]
Antonyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Noun[edit]

fly (plural flies)

  1. (obsolete) The action of flying; flight.
  2. An act of flying.
    We had a quick half-hour fly back into the city.
  3. (baseball) A fly ball.
  4. (historical) A type of small, fast carriage (sometimes pluralised flys).
    • 1897, Bram Stoker, Dracula, Folio Society 2008, p. 124:
      As we left the house in my fly, which had been waiting, Van Helsing said:— ‘Tonight I can sleep in peace [...].’
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 16, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      “[…] She takes the whole thing with desperate seriousness. But the others are all easy and jovial—thinking about the good fare that is soon to be eaten, about the hired fly, about anything.”
  5. A piece of canvas that covers the opening at the front of a tent.
  6. A strip of material hiding the zipper, buttons etc. at the front of a pair of trousers, pants, underpants, bootees, etc.
  7. The free edge of a flag.
  8. The horizontal length of a flag.
  9. Butterfly, a form of swimming.
  10. (weightlifting) An exercise that involves wide opening and closing of the arms perpendicular to the shoulders.
  11. The part of a vane pointing the direction from which the wind blows.
  12. (nautical) That part of a compass on which the points are marked; the compass card.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Totten to this entry?)
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. In a knitting machine, the piece hinged to the needle, which holds the engaged loop in position while the needle is penetrating another loop; a latch.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Knight to this entry?)
  16. The pair of arms revolving around the bobbin, in a spinning wheel or spinning frame, to twist the yarn.
  17. (weaving) A shuttle driven through the shed by a blow or jerk.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Knight to this entry?)
  18. (printing, historical) The person who took the printed sheets from the press.
  19. (printing, historical) A vibrating frame with fingers, attached to a power printing press for doing the same work.
  20. One of the upper screens of a stage in a theatre.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

fly (third-person singular simple present flies, present participle flying, simple past and past participle flied)

  1. (intransitive, baseball) 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.
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Origin uncertain; probably from the verb or noun.

Adjective[edit]

fly (comparative flier, superlative fliest)

  1. (slang, dated) Quick-witted, alert, mentally sharp, smart (in a mental sense).
    be assured, O man of sin—pilferer of small wares and petty larcener—that 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 minds—to the slightest gesture of illegal conveyancing. (Charles Dickens, "Arcadia"; Household Words Vol.7 p.381)
  2. (slang) Well dressed, smart in appearance.
    He's pretty fly for a white guy.
  3. (slang) Beautiful; displaying physical beauty.
Translations[edit]

Danish[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Norwegian fly, an abbreviation of flyvemaskin (airplane).

Noun[edit]

fly n (singular definite flyet, plural indefinite fly)

  1. airplane
Synonyms[edit]
Inflection[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old Norse flýja (flee).

Verb[edit]

fly (imperative fly, present flyr or flyer, past flyede, past participle flyet, present participle flyende)

  1. flee
  2. shun

Etymology 3[edit]

From late Old Norse fligja, flygja, from Middle Low German vlīen, vlīgen (stack, sort out).

Verb[edit]

fly (imperative fly, present flyr or flyer, past flyede, past participle flyet, present participle flyende)

  1. hand, give

Norwegian Bokmål[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

fly n (definite singular flyet; indefinite plural fly; definite plural flya/flyene)

  1. plane, aeroplane (UK), airplane (US), aircraft

Derived terms[edit]

Verb[edit]

fly (present tense flyr; past tense flydde; past participle flydd)

  1. fly

Norwegian Nynorsk[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Verb[edit]

fly (present tense flyr/flyg, past tense flaug, past participle floge, passive infinitive flygast, present participle flygande, imperative fly/flyg)

  1. Alternative form of flyga.

Etymology 2[edit]

Shortened form of flygemaskin (flying machine).

Noun[edit]

fly n (definite singular flyet, indefinite plural fly, definite plural flya)

  1. plane, aeroplane (UK), airplane (US), aircraft
    Skunda deg, elles misser du flyet ditt!
    Hurry up, or you'll miss your plane!
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From Old Norse flýja.

Verb[edit]

fly (present tense flyr, past tense flydde, past participle flydd/flytt, passive infinitve flyast, present participle flyande, imperative fly)

  1. escape; flee

References[edit]


Swedish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Norse flýja, from Proto-Germanic *fleuhaną.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

fly

  1. to flee, to run away, to escape
    Fångarna försökte fly från fängelset.
    The prisoners tried to escape from jail.
    Med tårarna strömmande ned för sina kinder flydde hon undan de andra tjejernas glåpord.
    With tears streaming down her cheeks, she fled the taunting words of the other girls.
  2. to pass, to go by (of time)
    • 1964, Gunnel Vallquist, title of the new Swedish translation of Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu
      På spaning efter den tid som flytt
      In Search of Lost Time
    • 1965, Sven-Ingvars, Börja om från början
      Varför ska man sörja tider som har flytt?
      Why should one feel sorry for times that have past?

Conjugation[edit]

Related terms[edit]