fly the coop

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From fly, to flee or run away, + coop, an enclosure for birds.

Verb[edit]

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

  1. (idiomatic) To depart hastily or unannounced; to escape or flee.
    • 1910, William MacLeod Raine, A Texas Ranger, ch. 3:
      Not liking the accommodations, I took the first chance and flew the coop.
  2. (of a bird) To escape from a pen or similar enclosure.
    • 1961 Jan. 6, "Assisi Revisited," Time:
      Explained a Curtiz assistant: "We had three ravens in Assisi; one died of cold, and another flew the coop."

Usage notes[edit]

  • Usually used in the simple past form.