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fly1

[flahy] /flaɪ/
verb (used without object), flew or for 11, 19, flied, flown, flying.
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; escape.
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.
  1. to bat a fly ball:
    He flied into right field.
  2. to fly out.
12.
Informal. to be acceptable, believable, or feasible:
It seemed like a good idea, but it just wouldn't fly.
verb (used with object), flew or for 11, 19, flied, flown, flying.
13.
to make (something) float or move through the air:
to fly a kite.
14.
to operate (an aircraft, spacecraft, or the like).
15.
to hoist aloft, as for display, signaling, etc.:
to fly a flag.
16.
to operate an aircraft or spacecraft over:
to fly the Pacific.
17.
to transport or convey by air:
We fly merchandise to Boston.
18.
to escape from; flee:
to fly someone's wrath.
19.
Theater.
  1. to hang (scenery) above a stage by means of rigging supported by the gridiron.
  2. to raise (scenery) from the stage or acting area into the flies.
noun, plural flies.
20.
a strip of material sewn along one edge of a garment opening for concealing buttons, zippers, or other fasteners.
21.
a flap forming the door of a tent.
22.
Also called tent fly. a piece of canvas extending over the ridgepole of a tent and forming an outer roof.
23.
an act of flying; a flight.
24.
the course of a flying object, as a ball.
25.
Baseball. fly ball.
26.
British. a light, covered, public carriage drawn by one horse; hansom; hackney coach.
27.
Machinery. 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.
28.
Also called fan. Horology. a regulating device for chime and striking mechanisms, consisting of an arrangement of vanes on a revolving axis.
29.
Printing.
  1. (in some presses) the apparatus for removing the printed sheets to the delivery table.
  2. Also called flyboy. (formerly) a printer's devil employed to remove printed sheets from a press.
30.
  1. the horizontal dimension of a flag as flown from a vertical staff.
  2. the end of the flag farther from the staff.
    Compare hoist (def 7).
31.
flies, Also called fly loft. Theater. the space above the stage used chiefly for storing scenery and equipment.
32.
Nautical. a propellerlike device streamed to rotate and transfer information on speed to a mechanical log.
Verb phrases
33.
fly out, Baseball, Softball. to be put out by hitting a fly ball that is caught by a player of the opposing team.
Idioms
34.
fly blind,
  1. to operate an airplane, especially during conditions of poor visibility, relying solely on instruments for guidance.
  2. to proceed with a complex task in the absence of directions by using one's own ability to determine what procedures to follow.
35.
fly in the face of, to act in defiance of (authority, custom, etc.).
Also, fly in the teeth of.
36.
fly off the handle. handle (def 16).
37.
go fly a kite, Slang.
  1. to put up with or get used to matters as they stand.
  2. to confine oneself to one's own affairs.
  3. to cease being a nuisance:
    If she gets mad enough she'll tell me to go fly a kite.
38.
let fly,
  1. to hurl or propel (a weapon, missile, etc.).
  2. to give free rein to an emotion:
    She let fly with a barrage of angry words.
39.
on the fly,
  1. during flight; before falling to the ground:
    to catch a baseball on the fly.
  2. hurriedly; without pausing:
    We had dinner on the fly.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English flīen, Old English flēogan; cognate with Old High German fliogan, German fliegen, Old Norse fljuga
Related forms
flyable, adjective
flyability, noun
nonflyable, adjective
reflyable, adjective
unflyable, adjective
Synonyms
1. 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

[flahy] /flaɪ/
noun, plural flies.
1.
Also called true fly. any of numerous two-winged insects of the order Diptera, especially of the family Muscidae, as the common housefly.
2.
any 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.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Musca.
Idioms
5.
fly 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.
Origin
before 950; Middle English flīe, Old English flēoge, flȳge; cognate with Middle Dutch vliege (Dutch vlieg), Old High German flioga (German Fliege); akin to fly1
Related forms
flyless, adjective

fly3

[flahy] /flaɪ/
adjective, British Informal.
1.
clever; keen; ingenious.
2.
agile; nimble.
Origin
1805-15; perhaps special use of fly1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for fly
  • Scientists have discovered a mysterious species of fly with males bearing highly unusual mis-matched right and left wings.
  • They seemed not to fly so much as scull the air with dark blade wings.
  • The foxes devoured eggs and goslings, which couldn't fly to escape.
  • The largest bird that ever flew was an expert glider but was too heavy to fly by flapping its wings, researchers say.
  • Add retractable wings to the car, so that for long trips it can fly.
  • Community colleges can no longer fly under the radar.
  • The government could have stepped in later to allow only those airlines with credible business plans to fly again.
  • Density populated chicken houses filled with flies and bacteria may enable diseases to fly the coop.
  • Sage grouse are big birds, weighing up to seven pounds, and they are built to fly.
  • After that, they'll have to demonstrate that their design can actually fly.
British Dictionary definitions for fly

fly1

/flaɪ/
verb flies, flying, flew, flown
1.
(intransitive) (of birds, aircraft, etc) to move through the air in a controlled manner using aerodynamic forces
2.
to travel over (an area of land or sea) in an aircraft
3.
to operate (an aircraft or spacecraft)
4.
to float, flutter, or be displayed in the air or cause to float, etc, in this way to fly a kite, they flew the flag
5.
to transport or be transported by or through the air by aircraft, wind, etc
6.
(intransitive) to move or be moved very quickly, forcibly, or suddenly she came flying towards me, the door flew open
7.
(intransitive) to pass swiftly time flies
8.
to escape from (an enemy, place, etc); flee he flew the country
9.
(intransitive; may be foll by at or upon) to attack a person
10.
(intransitive) to have a sudden outburst he flew into a rage again
11.
(intransitive) (of money, etc) to vanish rapidly
12.
(transitive) (falconry) (of hawks) to fly at (quarry) in attack peregrines fly rooks
13.
(transitive) (theatre) to suspend (scenery) above the stage so that it may be lowered into view
14.
fly a kite
  1. to procure money by an accommodation bill
  2. to release information or take a step in order to test public opinion
15.
(informal) fly high
  1. to have a high aim
  2. to prosper or flourish
16.
fly in the face of, See face (sense 19)
17.
(informal) fly off the handle, to lose one's temper
18.
(US & Canadian, informal) fly the coop, to leave suddenly
19.
(US & Canadian, informal) go fly a kite, go away
20.
(informal) let fly
  1. to lose one's temper (with a person) she really let fly at him
  2. to shoot or throw (an object)
noun (pl) flies
21.
(often pl) Also called fly front. a closure that conceals a zip, buttons, or other fastening, by having one side overlapping, as on trousers
22.
Also called fly sheet
  1. a flap forming the entrance to a tent
  2. a piece of canvas drawn over the ridgepole of a tent to form an outer roof
23.
a small air brake used to control the chiming of large clocks
24.
the horizontal weighted arm of a fly press
25.
  1. the outer edge of a flag
  2. the distance from the outer edge of a flag to the staff Compare hoist (sense 9)
26.
(Brit) a light one-horse covered carriage formerly let out on hire
27.
(Austral & NZ) an attempt I'll give it a fly
28.
(printing)
  1. a device for transferring printed sheets from the press to a flat pile
  2. Also called flyhand. a person who collects and stacks printed matter from a printing press
  3. a piece of paper folded once to make four pages, with printing only on the first page
29.
(pl) (theatre) the space above the stage out of view of the audience, used for storing scenery, etc
30.
(rare) the act of flying
Derived Forms
flyable, adjective
Word Origin
Old English flēogan; related to Old Frisian fliāga, Old High German fliogan, Old Norse fljūga

fly2

/flaɪ/
noun (pl) flies
1.
any dipterous insect, esp the housefly, characterized by active flight See also horsefly, blowfly, tsetse fly, crane fly
2.
any of various similar but unrelated insects, such as the caddis fly, firefly, dragonfly, and chalcid fly
3.
(angling) a lure made from a fish-hook dressed with feathers, tinsel, etc, to resemble any of various flies or nymphs: used in fly-fishing See also dry fly, wet fly
4.
(in southern Africa) an area that is infested with the tsetse fly
5.
(Austral, slang) drink with the flies, to drink alone
6.
fly in amber, See amber (sense 2)
7.
(informal) fly in the ointment, a slight flaw that detracts from value, completeness, or enjoyment
8.
fly on the wall, a person who watches others, while not being noticed himself or herself
9.
(informal) there are no flies on him, he is no fool
Derived Forms
flyless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English flēoge; related to Old Norse fluga Old High German flioga; see fly1

fly3

/flaɪ/
adjective (slang) flyer, flyest
1.
(mainly Brit) knowing and sharp; smart
2.
(mainly Scot) furtive or sneaky
noun
3.
(mainly Scot) on the fly, in secret; sneakily
Word Origin
C19: of uncertain origin
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 fly
fly
O.E. fleoge, from P.Gmc. *fleugjon (cf. O.S. fleiga, O.N. fluga, M.Du. vlieghe, Ger. Fliege "fly); lit. "the flying (insect)" (cf. O.E. fleogende "flying"), from same source as fly(v.1). Originally "any winged insect" (hence butterfly, etc.); long used by farmers and gardeners for any insect parasite. The O.E. plural in -n (cf. oxen) gradually normalized 13c.-15c. to -s. Slang adj. meaning "clever, alert, wide awake" first recorded 18c., perhaps from the notion of the insect being hard to catch (other theories, however, trace it to fledge or flash); 1990s use may be a revival or a reinvention. Fly on the wall "unseen observer" first recorded 1949. An O.E. word for "curtain" was fleonet "fly-net." Fly-swatter first attested 1917. Fly-fishing is from 1650s.
fly
"to soar through air," O.E. fleogan (class II strong verb; past tense fleag, pp. flogen), from W.Gmc. *fleuganan (cf. O.H.G. fliogan, O.N. flügja, M.Du. vlieghen, Ger. fliegen), from PIE *pleu- "flowing, floating" (cf. Lith. plaukiu "to swim"). Notion of "flapping as a wing does" led to noun sense of "tent flap" (1810), which yielded (1844) "covering for buttons that close up a garment." Slang phrase fly off the handle "lose one's cool" dates from 1825. On the fly is 1851.
fly
"run away," O.E. fleon (see flee). Fleogan and fleon were often confused in O.E., too. Mod.Eng. distinguishes in preterite: flew/fled.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fly in Medicine

fly (flī)
n.
Any of numerous two-winged insects of the order Diptera.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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fly in Science
fly
  (flī)   
Any of numerous insects of the order Diptera, having one pair of wings and large compound eyes. Flies include the houseflies, horseflies, and mosquitoes. See more at dipteran.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for fly

fly

adjective
  1. Clever; knowing; alert; shrewd (1811+)
  2. Stylish; very attractive; sharp, superfly: driving a Cadillac that's fly/ They tell each other they're fly when they look sharp (1900+ Black)
verb
  1. To act in a strange or bizarre way: The broad must be flying on something (1960s+ Narcotics)
  2. To feel the effects of narcotic intoxication: About a minute after the fix he was flying (1960s+ Narcotics)
  3. To succeed; persuade; go over •Often in the negative: They're experts on what will fly and what won't/ He glanced at Keenan to see if that statement was going to fly (1970s+)
  4. To run or travel very fast
Related Terms

barfly, catch flies, fruit fly, let fly, no flies on, on the fly, shoo-fly

[the first adjective sense, ''clever, alert, etc,'' is of unknown origin, though it is conjectured that it may refer to the difficulty of catching a fly in midair, that it may be cognate with fledge and hence mean ''accomplished, proven, seasoned,'' and that it is a corruption of fla, a shortening of flash; the third verb sense, ''succeed, persuade, etc,'' is fr a cluster of jokes and phrases having to do with the Wright Brothers' and others' efforts to get something off the ground and make it fly; the two adjective senses involve either a survival or a revival of an early 19thcentury British underworld term of unknown origin]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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fly in the Bible

Heb. zebub, (Eccl. 10:1; Isa. 7:18). This fly was so grievous a pest that the Phoenicians invoked against it the aid of their god Baal-zebub (q.v.). The prophet Isaiah (7:18) alludes to some poisonous fly which was believed to be found on the confines of Egypt, and which would be called by the Lord. Poisonous flies exist in many parts of Africa, for instance, the different kinds of tsetse. Heb. 'arob, the name given to the insects sent as a plague on the land of Egypt (Ex. 8:21-31; Ps. 78:45; 105:31). The LXX. render this by a word which means the "dog-fly," the cynomuia. The Jewish commentators regarded the Hebrew word here as connected with the word _'arab_, which means "mingled;" and they accordingly supposed the plague to consist of a mixed multitude of animals, beasts, reptiles, and insects. But there is no doubt that "the _'arab_" denotes a single definite species. Some interpreters regard it as the Blatta orientalis, the cockroach, a species of beetle. These insects "inflict very painful bites with their jaws; gnaw and destroy clothes, household furniture, leather, and articles of every kind, and either consume or render unavailable all eatables."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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