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[flej] /flɛdʒ/
verb (used with object), fledged, fledging.
to bring up (a young bird) until it is able to fly.
to furnish with or as if with feathers or plumage.
to provide (an arrow) with feathers.
verb (used without object), fledged, fledging.
(of a young bird) to acquire the feathers necessary for flight.
Archaic. (of young birds) able to fly.
Origin of fledge
1350-1400; Middle English flegge (fully-)fledged, Old English *flecge, as variant of -flycge; cognate with Old High German flucki, Middle Low German vlügge (> German flügge); akin to fly1
Related forms
fledgeless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for fledge
  • Chicks fledge in summer, when food is abundant and the weather relatively mild.
  • Both adults participate in incubation of eggs, brooding of chicks, and care of juveniles after they fledge.
  • In a good year, about half of the hatchlings survive to fledge.
  • With minimal disturbance, they check for the number of eggs laid and of chicks that survive and fledge.
  • Both parents care for the nestlings, which fledge in three to four weeks.
  • Chicks fledge with a dark gray bill and white and gray plumage.
  • These closures are temporary, and will last only until plover broods fledge or move a safe distance from vehicle access points.
  • Feather development won't be complete until after they fledge and the eaglets may actually continue to gain weight.
  • Most pelicans are banded before they fledge when they're easier to catch and band.
British Dictionary definitions for fledge


(transitive) to feed and care for (a young bird) until it is able to fly
(transitive) Also called fletch. to fit (something, esp an arrow) with a feather or feathers
(intransitive) (of a young bird) to grow feathers
(transitive) to cover or adorn with or as if with feathers
Word Origin
Old English -flycge, as in unflycge unfledged; related to Old High German flucki able to fly; see fly1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fledge

Old English *-flycge (Kentish -flecge),an adjective meaning "having the feathers, fit to fly," from West Germanic *fluggja- (cf. Middle Dutch vlugge, Low German flügge), from root meaning "to fly" (see fly (v.)). As a verb, it is first attested in English 1560s. Related: Fledged; fledging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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