WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
fly1 /flaɪ/USA pronunciation   v.,  flew /flu/USA pronunciation  or, for 11., flied, flown/floʊn/,USA pronunciation  fly•ing, n., pl.  flies. 
  1. to move through the air using wings:[no object]Outside the birds were flying.
  2. 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.
  3. Aeronautics to travel in an aircraft or spacecraft:[no object]The family flew to California.
  4. Aeronauticsto operate an aircraft or spacecraft: [no object]The pilot flew to Hawaii.[+ object]The pilot flew a variety of aircraft.
  5. Aeronautics, Aerospace to operate an aircraft or spacecraft over (an area):[+ object]to fly the Pacific.
  6. Aeronautics to transport or convey by air:[+ object]The army flew him to its secret base.
  7. 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.
  8. to pass swiftly:[no object]How time flies!
  9. to move with often sudden swiftness:[no object]cars flying by us; flew into a rage.
  10. to flee;
    escape:[no object]He was warned to fly from the sheriff's wrath.
  11. Sport to bat a fly ball in baseball:[no object]The last hitter flied to right field.
  12. Informal Termsto be believable or feasible:[no object]It seemed like a good idea, but it just wouldn't fly.
  13. fly at, [+ at + object] to attack suddenly:flew at him and scratched his face.

n. [countable]
  1. Clothinga fold of material that conceals fasteners in a garment opening.
  2. a flap forming the door of a tent.
  3. Sportfly ball.
  1. Idiomsfly high, [no obj] to be full of happiness or excitement:The workers were all flying high until the bad news arrived.
  2. Idiomsfly in the face or teeth of, [ + obj] to act in defiance of:to fly in the face of tradition.
  3. Idiomsfly off the handle, [no obj][Informal.]to become very angry, esp. without warning.
  4. 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.
  5. Idiomson the fly, hurriedly:We had dinner on the fly.

fly2 /flaɪ/USA pronunciation   n.[countable]pl.  flies. 
  1. Insectsa two-winged insect, such as the common housefly.
  2. Sporta fishing lure dressed to resemble an insect or small fish.
  1. 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.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
fly1  (flī),USA pronunciation v.,  flew  or, for 11, 19, flied, flown, fly•ing, n., pl.  flies. 
  1. to move through the air using wings.
  2. to be carried through the air by the wind or any other force or agency:bits of paper flying about.
  3. to float or flutter in the air:flags flying in the breeze.
  4. to travel in an aircraft or spacecraft.
  5. to move suddenly and quickly;
    start unexpectedly:He flew from the room.
  6. to change rapidly and unexpectedly from one state or position to another:The door flew open.
  7. to flee;
  8. to travel in space:The probe will fly past the planet.
  9. to move or pass swiftly:How time flies!
  10. to move with an aggressive surge:A mother fox will fly at anyone approaching her kits.
  11. [Baseball.]
    • to bat a fly ball:He flied into right field.
    • to fly out.
  12. [Informal.]to be acceptable, believable, or feasible:It seemed like a good idea, but it just wouldn't fly.

  1. to make (something) float or move through the air:to fly a kite.
  2. to operate (an aircraft, spacecraft, or the like).
  3. to hoist aloft, as for display, signaling, etc.:to fly a flag.
  4. to operate an aircraft or spacecraft over:to fly the Pacific.
  5. to transport or convey by air:We fly merchandise to Boston.
  6. to escape from;
    flee:to fly someone's wrath.
  7. [Theat.]
    • 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.
  8. fly blind. See  blind (def. 33).
  9. fly in the face of, to act in defiance of (authority, custom, etc.). Also,  fly in the teeth of. 
  10. fly off the handle. See  handle (def. 8).
  11. fly out, [Baseball, Softball.]to be put out by hitting a fly ball that is caught by a player of the opposing team.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.

  1. a strip of material sewn along one edge of a garment opening for concealing buttons, zippers, or other fasteners.
  2. a flap forming the door of a tent.
  3. Also called  tent fly. a piece of canvas extending over the ridgepole of a tent and forming an outer roof.
  4. an act of flying;
    a flight.
  5. the course of a flying object, as a ball.
  6. [Baseball.]See  fly ball. 
  7. [Brit.]a light, covered, public carriage drawn by one horse;
    hackney coach.
  8. [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.
  9. Also called  fan. [Horol.]a regulating device for chime and striking mechanisms, consisting of an arrangement of vanes on a revolving axis.
  10. [Print.]
    • (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.
  11. (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).
  12. flies. Also called  fly loft. [Theat.]the space above the stage used chiefly for storing scenery and equipment.
  13. [Naut.]a propellerlike device streamed to rotate and transfer information on speed to a mechanical log.
  14. on the fly: 
    • during flight;
      before falling to the ground:to catch a baseball on the fly.
    • hurriedly;
      without pausing:We had dinner on the fly.
flya•ble, adj. 
fly′a•bili•ty, n. 
  • 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. 
  1. InsectsAlso called  true fly. any of numerous two-winged insects of the order Diptera, esp. of the family Muscidae, as the common housefly.
  2. Insectsany of various winged insects, as the mayfly or firefly.
  3. [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.
  4. Astronomy(cap.) the constellation Musca.
  5. 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.
flyless, adj. 
  • 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.]
  1. British Termsclever;
  2. British Termsagile;
  • perh. special use of fly1 1805–15

'flies' also found in these entries:

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