Definition of fly verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//flaɪ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//flaɪ//
    In sense 15 flied
    BrE BrE//flaɪd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//flaɪd//
    is used for the past tense and past participle.
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they fly
    BrE BrE//flaɪ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//flaɪ//
    he / she / it flies
    BrE BrE//flaɪz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//flaɪz//
    past simple flew
    BrE BrE//fluː//
    ; NAmE NAmE//fluː//
    past participle flown
    BrE BrE//fləʊn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//floʊn//
    -ing form flying
    BrE BrE//ˈflaɪɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈflaɪɪŋ//
    Plane travel
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    of bird/insect
  1. 1  [intransitive] (+ adv./prep.) to move through the air, using wings A stork flew slowly past. A wasp had flown in through the window.
  2. aircraft/spacecraft
  3. 2  [intransitive] (+ adv./prep.) (of an aircraft or a spacecraft) to move through air or space They were on a plane flying from London to New York. to fly at the speed of sound Lufthansa fly to La Paz from Frankfurt. See related entries: Plane travel
  4. 3  [intransitive] to travel in an aircraft or a spacecraft Is this the first time that you've flown? fly (from…) (to…) I'm flying to Hong Kong tomorrow. + noun I always fly business class. We're flying KLM. See related entries: Plane travel
  5. 4  [transitive, intransitive] fly (something) to control an aircraft, etc. in the air a pilot trained to fly large passenger planes children flying kites He's learning to fly. See related entries: Plane travel
  6. 5[transitive] + adv./prep. to transport goods or passengers in a plane The stranded tourists were finally flown home. He had flowers specially flown in for the ceremony. See related entries: Plane travel
  7. 6[transitive] fly something to travel over an ocean or area of land in an aircraft to fly the Atlantic See related entries: Plane travel
  8. move quickly/suddenly
  9. 7  [intransitive] (+ adv./prep.) to go or move quickly The train was flying along. She gasped and her hand flew to her mouth. It's late—I must fly.
  10. 8  [intransitive] to move suddenly and with force (+ adv./prep.) A large stone came flying in through the window. Several people were hit by flying glass. + adj. David gave the door a kick and it flew open.
  11. of time
  12. 9  [intransitive] to seem to pass very quickly Doesn't time fly? fly by/past Summer has just flown by.
  13. flag
  14. 10[intransitive, transitive] if a flag flies, or if you fly it, it is displayed, for example on a long pole Flags were flying at half mast on all public buildings. fly something to fly the Stars and Stripes
  15. move freely
  16. 11[intransitive] to move around freely hair flying in the wind
  17. of stories/rumours
  18. 12[intransitive] to be talked about by many people
  19. escape
  20. 13[transitive, intransitive] fly (something) (formal) to escape from somebody/something Both suspects have flown the country. compare flee
  21. of plan
  22. 14[intransitive] (North American English) to be successful It remains to be seen whether his project will fly.
  23. in baseball
  24. 15(flies, flying, flied, flied) [intransitive, transitive] fly (something) to hit a ball high into the air
  25. Word Originverb Old English flēogan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vliegen and German fliegen, also to fly, the insect. Extra examplesIt’s late—I must fly. Orders were given to fly the prisoners to the US. She always flies business class. She’s trained to fly passenger planes, not military jets. They usually fly the Stars and Stripes outside their house. Where did you learn to fly? Who was the first person to fly the Atlantic? You’ll have to fly the helicopter over some dangerous territory.Idioms in a straight line The villages are no more than a mile apart as the crow flies. the wanted person has escaped
    (fly) by the seat of your pants
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    (informal) to act without careful thought and without a plan that you have made in advance, hoping that you will be lucky and be successful synonym wing it
    (informal, especially North American English) to escape from a place to show your support for your country, an organization or an idea to encourage or persuade others to do the same to be successful British cinema has been flying high recently, winning several coveted awards.
    fly in the face of something
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    to oppose or be the opposite of something that is usual or expected Such a proposal is flying in the face of common sense.
    fly into a rage, temper, etc.
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    to become suddenly very angry See related entries: Anger
    (North American English, informal) used to tell somebody to go away and stop annoying you or interfering
    1. 1(of a young bird) to become able to fly and leave its nest
    2. 2(informal) (of somebody’s child) to leave home and live somewhere else
    fly/go off at a tangent (British English) (North American English go off on a tangent)
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    (informal) to suddenly start saying or doing something that does not seem to be connected to what has gone before He never sticks to the point but keeps going off at a tangent. Laura’s mind went off at a tangent.
    (informal) to suddenly become very angry He seems to fly off the handle about the slightest thing these days. See related entries: Anger
    fly/go out (of) the window
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    (informal) to stop existing; to disappear completely As soon as the kids arrived, order went out of the window.
    (informal) to fall, especially as a result of not seeing something under your feet Someone's going to go flying if you don't pick up these toys. to represent your country or organization Our exporters keep the flag flying at international trade exhibitions.
    let fly (at somebody/something) (with something)
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    to attack somebody by hitting them or speaking angrily to them He let fly at me with his fist. She let fly with a stream of abuse.
    pigs might fly (British English) (North American English when pigs fly)
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    (ironic, saying) used to show that you do not believe something will ever happen ‘With a bit of luck, we'll be finished by the end of the year.’ ‘Yes, and pigs might fly!’
    (saying) time seems to pass very quickly How time flies! I've got to go now. Time has flown since the holiday began. This phrase is a translation of the Latin ‘tempus fugit’.
    Phrasal Verbsfly at somebody
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: fly