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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
950
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
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for fly ointment

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 ointment

fly

n.

Old English fleoge "fly, winged insect," from Proto-Germanic *fleugjon (cf. Old Saxon fleiga, Old Norse fluga, Middle Dutch vlieghe, Dutch vlieg, Old High German flioga, German Fliege "fly); literally "the flying (insect)" (cf. Old English 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 Old English plural in -n (cf. oxen) gradually normalized 13c.-15c. to -s. Fly on the wall "unseen observer" first recorded 1881. An Old English word for "curtain" was fleonet "fly-net." Fly-swatter first attested 1917. Fly-fishing is from 1650s.

v.

"to soar through air," Old English fleogan "to fly" (class II strong verb; past tense fleag, past participle flogen), from West Germanic *fleuganan (cf. Old Saxon and Old High German fliogan, Old Norse flügja, Old Frisian fliaga, Middle Dutch vlieghen, Dutch vliegen, German fliegen), from PIE *pleu- "flowing, floating" (see pluvial).

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." The noun sense of "a flight, flying" is from mid-15c. Baseball fly ball attested by 1866. Slang phrase fly off the handle "lose one's cool" dates from 1825. To do something on the fly is 1856, apparently from baseball.

"run away," Old English fleon (see flee). Fleogan and fleon were often confused in Old English, too. Modern English distinguishes in preterite: flew/fled.

adj.

slang, "clever, alert, wide awake," late 18c., perhaps from fly (n.) on the notion of the insect being hard to catch. Other theories, however, trace it to fledge or flash. Slang use in 1990s might be a revival or a reinvention.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fly ointment 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 ointment 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 ointment

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 ointment 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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