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Divide a meaning of the English verb[edit]

One of the meanings of the English verb should perhaps be divided in two. This transitive meaning in question is currently defined

To operate (an aircraft, a kite, etc.) through the air.

Seems that many languages, among which my mother tongue Finnish, makes a difference between operating in the inside (as is the case with an aeroplane) and operating in the outside (as with a kite). In other words, different verbs are used when the flyer is in the object and when the flyer controls the object outside of it. (I hope I make myself clear despite a certain lack in my English skills.)
Maybe it would be better to have one definition for each cases than specify this difference at each translation. At the moment three languages out of seven makes this difference—there was just one, apparently incorrect, Frence translation until I corrected it according the advice of a French Wikipedian. --Mikalaari 15:03, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Fly as a regular verb[edit]

In baseball, the verb "fly" meaning to hit a fly ball is a regular verb. It is not merely a variation of the irregular verb "fly", but rather is a verb formed from the noun "fly" which describes the type of hit. Similarly, baseball has the intransitive verbs "ground", "line" and "pop", derived from the noun phrases "ground ball" or "grounder", "line drive", and "pop fly" or "pop-up".*

Verbs derived from nouns are regular in conjugation, even when they are related to irregular verbs. This phenomemon has been nicely described by linguist Stephen Pinker of Harvard University at:

Unfortunately, when the regular verb is a homonym of the less-specialized irregular verb, some users will apply the irregular conjugation to the regular verb: E.g. "Jones flew to center his last time up." Most users will probably recognize this as an error, but some will not (just as many users recognize "between you and I" as incorrect, but many do not).

  • Interestingly, a ball hit in the air can be referred to as a "fly" or "fly ball" equivalently; but a ball hit on the ground is never referred to simply as a "ground". -georgewebb, 23 March 2007.

Old Norse cognate?[edit]

Moving question from article (added by at 01:19, 19 April 2007 UTC):

Is etymology 1 related to Old Norse flýja?

RuakhTALK 19:21, 19 April 2007 (UTC)


Are etymologies 1 and 2 really different from each other? As a non-linguist, I have always assumed that a fly is called a fly because it flies. So yes, the distinction between the two meanings has existed since early English and proto-Germanic, but fundamentally they are the same? Thanks Amakuru (talk) 10:20, 13 May 2014 (UTC)