fly
Pronunciation Noun

fly (plural flies)

  1. (zoology) Any insect of the order Diptera; characterized by having two wings (except for some wingless species), also called true fly.
  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).
  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.
    • 1610, Ben Jonson, The Alchemist
      a trifling fly, none of your great familiars
  7. (obsolete) A parasite.
  8. (swimming) The butterfly stroke (plural is normally flys)
  9. A simple dance in which the hands are shaken in the air, popular in the 1960s.
Related terms Translations
  • French: mouche
  • German: Fliege
  • Portuguese: díptero
  • Russian: му́ха
  • Spanish: mosco, mosca
Translations Translations Verb

fly (flies, present participle flying; 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.
    • Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.
    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 Hong Kong.
    The little fairy flew home on the back of her friend, the giant eagle.
  2. (ambitransitive, archaic, poetic) To flee, to escape (from).
    • Sleep flies the wretch.
    • c. 1604–1605, William Shakespeare, “All’s VVell, that Ends VVell”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act 3, scene ii]:
      to fly the favours of so good a king
    • c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The Merry VViues of VVindsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act IV, scene iv], page 56 ↗, column 1:
      [V]pon a sudden#English|ſodaine, / As Falſtaffe, ſhe, and I, are newly met, / Let them [children dressed like "urchins, ouphe#English|ouphes and fairies"] from forth a ſaw-pit ruſh at once / With ſome diffuſed ſong: Vpon their ſight / We two, in great amazedneſſe will flye: {{...}
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 5”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      Fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.
    • 1954, J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
      He staggered and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss. “Fly, you fools!” he cried, and was gone.
    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.
    • The brave black flag I fly.
    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, hasten.
    • 1645, John Milton, On Time
      Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race.
    • The dark waves murmured as the ships flew on.
  6. To move suddenly, or with violence; to do an act suddenly or swiftly.
    a door flies open;  a bomb flies apart
  7. (transitive, ergative) To display (a flag) on a flagpole.
  8. To hunt with a hawk.
Synonyms Antonyms Related terms Translations Translations Translations
  • French: piloter aircraft, faire voler kite
  • German: fahren zeppelin, balloon, fliegen airplane, fliegen lassen toys etc.
  • Portuguese: fazer voar
  • Russian: вести́
  • Spanish: volar, hacer volar, ir volando
Translations
  • Russian: проходи́ть
Noun

fly (plural flys)

  1. (obsolete) The action of flying; flight.
  2. An act of flying.
    There was a good wind, so I decided to give the kite a fly.
  3. (baseball) A fly ball.
  4. (now, historical) A type of small, fast carriage (sometimes pluralised flys).
    • 1897, Bram Stoker, Dracula, Folio Society 2008, page 124:
      As we left the house in my fly, which had been waiting, Van Helsing said:— ‘Tonight I can sleep in peace [...].’
    • 1924, Ford Madox Ford, Some Do Not…, Penguin 2012 (Parade's End), page 54:
      And, driving back in the fly, Macmaster said to himself that you couldn't call Mrs. Duchemin ordinary, at least.
  5. A piece of canvas that covers the opening at the front of a tent.
  6. (often plural) A strip of material (sometimes hiding zippers or buttons) at the front of a pair of trousers, pants, underpants, bootees, etc.
    Ha-ha! Your flies are undone!
    • February 2014 [https://web.archive.org/web/20140221194803/http://www.jfeconcepts.com/en/service/underwear-abc/y-front-fly.html Y-Front Fly]
      Y-Front is a registered trademark for a special front fly turned upside down to form a Y owned by Jockey® International. The first Y-Front® brief was created by Jockey® more than 70 years ago.
    • June 2014 [https://web.archive.org/web/20180223031954/http://www.dudeundies.com/news/the-hole-in-mens-underwear-name-and-purpose The Hole In Men’s Underwear: Name And Purpose]
      Briefs were given an opening in the front. The point of this opening (the ‘fly’) was to make it easier to pee with clothes on
  7. The free edge of a flag.
  8. The horizontal length of a flag.
  9. (weightlifting) An exercise that involves wide opening and closing of the arms perpendicular to the shoulders.
  10. The part of a vane pointing the direction from which the wind blows.
  11. (nautical) That part of a compass on which the points are marked; the compass card.
  12. 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.
  13. 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 flywheel.
  14. (historical) A light horse-drawn carriage that can be hired for transportation.
    • 1859, Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White ↗:
      Can I get a fly, or a carriage of any kind? Is it too late?
      I dismissed the fly a mile distant from the park, and getting my directions from the driver, proceeded by myself to the house.
    • 1861, Henry Mayhew and William Tuckniss, London Labour and the London Poor: A Cyclopœdia of the Condition and Earnings of Those that Will Work, Those that Cannot Work, and Those that Will Not Work, Volume 3, p. 359 ↗:
      A glass coach, it may be as well to observe, is a carriage and pair hired by the day, and a fly a one-horse carriage hired in a similar manner.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  21. (cotton manufacture) waste cotton
Translations
  • Portuguese: voo
  • Russian: полёт
  • Spanish: vuelo
Translations
  • Russian: пролётка
  • Spanish: calesa
Translations
  • Russian: по́лог
Translations Verb

fly (flies, present participle flying; past flied, 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.
Adjective

fly (comparative flyer, superlative flyest)

  1. (slang, dated) Quick-witted, alert, mentally sharp.
  2. (slang) Well dressed, smart in appearance; in style, cool.
    He's pretty fly.
  3. (slang) Beautiful; displaying physical beauty.
Translations Translations
  • German: smart
  • Russian: нарядный
Noun

fly (plural flies)

  1. (rural, Scotland, Northern England) A wing.
    The bullet barely grazed the wild fowl's fly.

Fly
Proper noun
  1. Surname



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