take flight


2 [flahyt]
an act or instance of fleeing or running away; hasty departure.
put to flight, to force to flee or run away; rout: She succeeded in putting the intruder to flight.
take flight, to retreat; run away; flee: The wild animals took flight before the onrushing fire. Also, take to flight.

1150–1200; Middle English; cognate with German Flucht; akin to flee

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World English Dictionary
flight1 (flaɪt)
1.  the act, skill, or manner of flying
2.  a journey made by a flying animal or object
3.  a.  a scheduled airline journey
 b.  an aircraft flying on such a journey
4.  a group of flying birds or aircraft: a flight of swallows
5.  the basic tactical unit of a military air force
6.  a journey through space, esp of a spacecraft
7.  rapid movement or progress
8.  a soaring mental journey above or beyond the normal everyday world: a flight of fancy
9.  a.  a single line of hurdles across a track in a race
 b.  a series of such hurdles
10.  a bird's wing or tail feather; flight feather
11.  a feather or plastic attachment fitted to an arrow or dart to give it stability in flight
12.  See flight arrow
13.  the distance covered by a flight arrow
14.  esp sport, cricket
 a.  a flighted movement imparted to a ball, dart, etc
 b.  the ability to flight a ball
15.  angling a device on a spinning lure that revolves rapidly
16.  a set of steps or stairs between one landing or floor and the next
17.  a large enclosed area attached to an aviary or pigeon loft where the birds may fly but not escape
18.  (tr) sport to cause (a ball, dart, etc) to float slowly or deceptively towards its target
19.  (intr) (of wild fowl) to fly in groups
20.  (tr) to shoot (a bird) in flight
21.  (tr) to fledge (an arrow or a dart)
[Old English flyht; related to Middle Dutch vlucht, Old Saxon fluht]

flight2 (flaɪt)
1.  the act of fleeing or running away, as from danger
2.  put to flight to cause to run away; rout
3.  take flight, take to flight to run away or withdraw hastily; flee
[Old English flyht (unattested); related to Old Frisian flecht, Old High German fluht, Old Norse flōtti]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"flying," O.E. flyht "a flying, flight." from P.Gmc. *flukhtiz (cf. Low Ger. flugt, Ger. Flucht). Spelling altered from M.E. fliht c. 1385 (see fight), from root of *fleugan "to fly" (see fly (v.1)). Meaning "an instance of flight" is 1785, originally of ballooning. Meaning
"series of stairs between landings" is from 1703.

"fleeing," from M.E. fluht (c.1200), not found in O.E., but presumed to have existed. Related to O.E. fleon "flee" (see flee).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

take flight

Also, take wing. Run away, flee, go away, as in When the militia arrived, the demonstrators took flight, or The tenant took wing before paying the rent. The first idiom derives from the earlier take one's flight, dating from the late 1300s, and was first recorded in 1435. The variant was first recorded in 1704.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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