WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
- to move through the air using wings:[no object]Outside the birds were flying.
- to be carried or move through the air or through space by any force or agency:[no object]The jet can fly at the speed of sound.
- Aeronautics to travel in an aircraft or spacecraft:[no object]The family flew to California.
- Aeronauticsto operate an aircraft or spacecraft: [no object]The pilot flew to Hawaii.[~ + object]The pilot flew a variety of aircraft.
- Aeronautics, Aerospace to operate an aircraft or spacecraft over (an area):[~ + object]to fly the Pacific.
- Aeronautics to transport or convey by air:[~ + object]The army flew him to its secret base.
- to (cause to) float or flutter in the air: [no object]The king's banner flew over his tent.[~ + object]He tried to fly his kite.
- to pass swiftly:[no object]How time flies!
- to move with often sudden swiftness:[no object]cars flying by us; flew into a rage.
- to flee;
escape:[no object]He was warned to fly from the sheriff's wrath.
- Sport to bat a fly ball in baseball:[no object]The last hitter flied to right field.
- Informal Termsto be believable or feasible:[no object]It seemed like a good idea, but it just wouldn't fly.
- fly at, [~ + at + object] to attack suddenly:flew at him and scratched his face.
- Clothinga fold of material that conceals fasteners in a garment opening.
- a flap forming the door of a tent.
- Sportfly ball.
- Idiomsfly high, [no obj] to be full of happiness or excitement:The workers were all flying high until the bad news arrived.
- Idiomsfly in the face or teeth of, [ ~ + obj] to act in defiance of:to fly in the face of tradition.
- Idiomsfly off the handle, [no obj][Informal.]to become very angry, esp. without warning.
- Idiomslet fly:
- to hurl or propel (an object): [no object]let fly with several snowballs.[let + ~ + object]She let fly a few snowballs.
- [no object] to let one's anger out:let fly with an insult.
- Idiomson the fly, hurriedly:We had dinner on the fly.
fly2 /flaɪ/USA pronunciation n.[countable], pl. flies.
- Insectsa two-winged insect, such as the common housefly.
- Sporta fishing lure dressed to resemble an insect or small fish.
- Idiomsfly in the ointment, something that spoils an otherwise pleasant thing:The fly in the ointment is that there is no money to finish the job.
- to move through the air using wings.
- to be carried through the air by the wind or any other force or agency:bits of paper flying about.
- to float or flutter in the air:flags flying in the breeze.
- to travel in an aircraft or spacecraft.
- to move suddenly and quickly;
start unexpectedly:He flew from the room.
- to change rapidly and unexpectedly from one state or position to another:The door flew open.
- to flee;
- to travel in space:The probe will fly past the planet.
- to move or pass swiftly:How time flies!
- to move with an aggressive surge:A mother fox will fly at anyone approaching her kits.
- to bat a fly ball:He flied into right field.
- to fly out.
- [Informal.]to be acceptable, believable, or feasible:It seemed like a good idea, but it just wouldn't fly.
- to make (something) float or move through the air:to fly a kite.
- to operate (an aircraft, spacecraft, or the like).
- to hoist aloft, as for display, signaling, etc.:to fly a flag.
- to operate an aircraft or spacecraft over:to fly the Pacific.
- to transport or convey by air:We fly merchandise to Boston.
- to escape from;
flee:to fly someone's wrath.
- to hang (scenery) above a stage by means of rigging supported by the gridiron.
- to raise (scenery) from the stage or acting area into the flies.
- fly blind. See blind (def. 33).
- fly in the face of, to act in defiance of (authority, custom, etc.). Also, fly in the teeth of.
- fly off the handle. See handle (def. 8).
- fly out, [Baseball, Softball.]to be put out by hitting a fly ball that is caught by a player of the opposing team.
- go fly a kite, [Slang.]
- to put up with or get used to matters as they stand.
- to confine oneself to one's own affairs.
- to cease being a nuisance:If she gets mad enough she'll tell me to go fly a kite.
- let fly:
- to hurl or propel (a weapon, missile, etc.).
- to give free rein to an emotion:She let fly with a barrage of angry words.
- a strip of material sewn along one edge of a garment opening for concealing buttons, zippers, or other fasteners.
- a flap forming the door of a tent.
- Also called tent fly. a piece of canvas extending over the ridgepole of a tent and forming an outer roof.
- an act of flying;
- the course of a flying object, as a ball.
- [Baseball.]See fly ball.
- [Brit.]a light, covered, public carriage drawn by one horse;
- [Mach.]a horizontal arm, weighted at each end, that pivots about the screw of a press so that when the screw is lowered the momentum of the fly will increase the force of the press.
- Also called fan. [Horol.]a regulating device for chime and striking mechanisms, consisting of an arrangement of vanes on a revolving axis.
- (in some presses) the apparatus for removing the printed sheets to the delivery table.
- Also called flyboy. (formerly) a printer's devil employed to remove printed sheets from a press.
- (on a flag)
- the horizontal dimension of a flag as flown from a vertical staff.
- the end of the flag farther from the staff. Cf. hoist (def. 8).
- flies. Also called fly loft. [Theat.]the space above the stage used chiefly for storing scenery and equipment.
- [Naut.]a propellerlike device streamed to rotate and transfer information on speed to a mechanical log.
- on the fly:
- during flight;
before falling to the ground:to catch a baseball on the fly.
without pausing:We had dinner on the fly.
- during flight;
- bef. 900; Middle English flīen, Old English flēogan; cognate with Old High German fliogan, German fliegen, Old Norse fljuga
- 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged Fly, flit, flutter, hover, soar refer to moving through the air as on wings. Fly is the general term:Birds fly. Airplanes fly.To flit is to make short rapid flights from place to place:A bird flits from tree to tree.To flutter is to agitate the wings tremulously, either without flying or in flying only short distances:A young bird flutters out of a nest and in again.To hover is to linger in the air, or to move over or about something within a narrow area or space:hovering clouds; a hummingbird hovering over a blossom.To soar is to (start to) fly upward to a great height usually with little advance in any other direction, or else to (continue to) fly at a lofty height without visible movement of the wings:Above our heads an eagle was soaring.
fly2 (flī),USA pronunciation n., pl. flies.
- InsectsAlso called true fly. any of numerous two-winged insects of the order Diptera, esp. of the family Muscidae, as the common housefly.
- Insectsany of various winged insects, as the mayfly or firefly.
- [Angling.]a fishhook dressed with hair, feathers, silk, tinsel, etc., so as to resemble an insect or small fish, for use as a lure or bait.
- Astronomy(cap.) the constellation Musca.
- Idiomsfly in the ointment, a detrimental factor;
detraction:If there's one fly in the ointment, it's that there may not be the money to finish the job.
- bef. 950; Middle English flīe, Old English flēoge, flȳge; cognate with Middle Dutch vliege (Dutch vlieg), Old High German flioga (German Fliege); akin to fly1
fly3 (flī),USA pronunciation adj. [Brit. Informal.]
- British Termsclever;
- British Termsagile;
- perh. special use of fly1 1805–15