definition of flys by The Free Dictionary

fly 1


v. flew (flo͞o), flown (flōn), fly·ing, flies (flīz)


1. To engage in flight, especially:

a. To move through the air by means of wings or winglike parts.

b. To travel by air: We flew to Dallas.

c. To operate an aircraft or spacecraft.


a. To rise in or be carried through the air by the wind: a kite flying above the playground.

b. To float or flap in the air: pennants flying from the masthead.

3. To move or be sent through the air with great speed: bullets flying in every direction; a plate that flew from my hands when I stumbled.


a. To move with great speed; rush or dart: The children flew down the hall.

b. To be communicated to many people: Rumors are flying about their breakup.

c. To flee; escape.

d. To hasten; spring: flew to her students’ defense.

5. To pass by swiftly: a vacation flying by.

6. To be dissipated; vanish: All his money has flown.

7. past tense and past participle flied (flīd) Baseball To hit a fly ball.


a. To shatter or explode: The dropped plate flew into pieces.

b. To become suddenly emotional, especially angry: The driver flew into a rage.

9. Informal To gain acceptance or approval; go over: “However sophisticated the reasoning, this particular notion may not fly” (New York Times).


a. To cause to fly or float in the air: fly a kite; fly a flag.

b. Nautical To operate under (a particular flag): a tanker that flies the Liberian flag.


a. To pilot (an aircraft or spacecraft).

b. To carry or transport in an aircraft or spacecraft: fly emergency supplies to a stricken area.

c. To pass over or through in flight: flew the coastal route in record time.

d. To perform in a spacecraft or aircraft: flew six missions into space.


a. To flee or run from: fly a place in panic.

b. To avoid; shun: fly temptation.

n. pl. flies

1. The act of flying; flight.


a. The opening, or the fastening that closes this opening, on the front of a pair of pants.

b. The flap of cloth that covers this opening.

3. A piece of protective fabric secured over a tent and often extended over the entrance.

4. A flyleaf.

5. Baseball A fly ball.

6. Sports In swimming, butterfly.


a. The span of a flag from the staff to the outer edge.

b. The outer edge of a flag.

8. A flywheel.

9. flies The area directly over the stage of a theater, containing overhead lights, drop curtains, and equipment for raising and lowering sets.

10. Chiefly British A one-horse carriage, especially one for hire.

Phrasal Verb:

fly at

To attack fiercely; assault: The dogs flew at each other’s throats.


fly high

To be elated: They were flying high after their first child was born.

fly off the handle Informal

To become suddenly enraged: flew off the handle when the train was finally canceled.

let fly

1. To shoot, hurl, or release: The troops let fly a volley of gunfire.

2. To lash out; assault: The mayor let fly with an angry attack on her critics.

on the fly

1. In a hurry or between pressing activities: took lunch on the fly.

2. While moving: The outfielder caught the ball on the fly.

3. In the air; in flight: The ball carried 500 feet on the fly.

4. While activity is ongoing: A coach can change players on the fly in hockey. This computer program compiles on the fly when a script is executed.

fly′a·ble adj.

fly 2


n. pl. flies


a. Any of numerous two-winged insects of the order Diptera, especially any of the family Muscidae, which includes the housefly.

b. Any of various other flying insects, such as a caddisfly.

2. A fishing lure simulating something a fish eats, such as a mayfly or a minnow, made by attaching materials such as feathers, tinsel, and colored thread to a fishhook.


fly in the ointment

A detrimental circumstance or detail; a drawback.

fly 3



1. Chiefly British Mentally alert; sharp.

2. Slang Fashionable; stylish.

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.



vb, flies, flying, flew or flown

1. (intr) (of birds, aircraft, etc) to move through the air in a controlled manner using aerodynamic forces

2. (Aeronautics) to travel over (an area of land or sea) in an aircraft

3. (Aeronautics) 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. (intr) to move or be moved very quickly, forcibly, or suddenly: she came flying towards me; the door flew open.

7. (intr) to pass swiftly: time flies.

8. to escape from (an enemy, place, etc); flee: he flew the country.

9. (intr; may be foll by at or upon) to attack a person

10. (intr) to have a sudden outburst: he flew into a rage again.

11. (intr) (of money, etc) to vanish rapidly

12. (Falconry) (tr) falconry (of hawks) to fly at (quarry) in attack: peregrines fly rooks.

13. (Theatre) (tr) theatre to suspend (scenery) above the stage so that it may be lowered into view

14. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) fly a kite

a. to procure money by an accommodation bill

b. to release information or take a step in order to test public opinion

15. fly high informal

a. to have a high aim

b. to prosper or flourish

16. fly in the face of See face19

17. fly off the handle informal to lose one’s temper

18. fly the coop informal US and Canadian to leave suddenly

19. go fly a kite informal US and Canadian go away

20. let fly informal

a. to lose one’s temper (with a person): she really let fly at him.

b. to shoot or throw (an object)

n, pl flies

21. (Clothing & Fashion) (often plural) Also called: fly front a closure that conceals a zip, buttons, or other fastening, by having one side overlapping, as on trousers

22. (Other Non-sporting Hobbies)

a. a flap forming the entrance to a tent

b. a piece of canvas drawn over the ridgepole of a tent to form an outer roof

23. (Mechanical Engineering) a small air brake used to control the chiming of large clocks

24. (Mechanical Engineering) the horizontal weighted arm of a fly press

25. (Heraldry)

a. the outer edge of a flag

b. the distance from the outer edge of a flag to the staff. Compare hoist9

26. (Automotive Engineering) Brit a light one-horse covered carriage formerly let out on hire

27. Austral and NZ an attempt: I’ll give it a fly.

28. (Printing, Lithography & Bookbinding) printing

a. a device for transferring printed sheets from the press to a flat pile

b. Also called: flyhand a person who collects and stacks printed matter from a printing press

c. a piece of paper folded once to make four pages, with printing only on the first page

29. (Theatre) (plural) theatre the space above the stage out of view of the audience, used for storing scenery, etc

30. rare the act of flying

31. on the fly informal without coming to a stop

[Old English flēogan; related to Old Frisian fliāga, Old High German fliogan, Old Norse fljūga]

ˈflyable adj



n, pl flies

2. (Animals) any of various similar but unrelated insects, such as the caddis fly, firefly, dragonfly, and chalcid fly

3. (Angling) 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. (Physical Geography) (in southern Africa) an area that is infested with the tsetse fly

5. drink with the flies slang Austral to drink alone

6. fly in amber See amber2

7. fly in the ointment informal 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. there are no flies on him informal he is no fool

[Old English flēoge; related to Old Norse fluga Old High German flioga; see fly1]

ˈflyless adj



adj, flyer or flyest

1. chiefly Brit knowing and sharp; smart

2. chiefly Scot furtive or sneaky


on the fly chiefly Scot in secret; sneakily

[C19: of uncertain origin]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



v. flew, for 11, 19, flied, flown, fly•ing, v.i.

1. to move through the air using wings.

2. to be carried through the air or through space by any force or agency.

3. to float or flutter in the air: flags flying in the breeze.

4. to travel in an aircraft or spacecraft.

5. to operate an aircraft or spacecraft.

6. to move suddenly and quickly; start unexpectedly: He flew out of the room.

7. to change rapidly and unexpectedly from one state or position to another: to fly into a rage; The door flew open.

8. to flee; escape.

9. to move or pass swiftly: How time flies!

10. to move with an aggressive surge.

11. to bat a fly ball in baseball.

12. Informal. to be acceptable, believable, feasible, or successful: It seemed like a good idea, but it just wouldn’t fly.


13. to make (something) float or move through the air: to fly a kite.

14. to operate (an aircraft or spacecraft).

15. to hoist aloft, as for display or signaling: to fly a flag.

16. to operate an aircraft or spacecraft over: to fly the Pacific.

17. to transport or convey by air.

18. to escape from; flee.


a. to hang (scenery) above a stage by means of rigging.

b. to raise (scenery) from the stage into the flies.

20. fly at, to attack suddenly; lash out at.

21. fly out, to make an out in baseball by hitting a fly ball that is caught by a player of the opposing team.


22. a strip of material sewn along one edge of a garment opening to conceal a zipper, buttons, or other fasteners.

23. a flap forming the door of a tent.

24. a piece of fabric extending over the ridgepole of a tent and forming an outer roof.

25. an act of flying; flight.

26. the course of a flying object, as a ball.

28. a regulating device for chime and striking mechanisms, consisting of an arrangement of vanes on a revolving axis.


a. the horizontal dimension of a flag as flown from a vertical staff.

30. flies. Also called fly loft. the space above the stage used chiefly for storing scenery and equipment.


1. fly high, to be full of hope or elation.

2. fly in the face or teeth of, to act in brazen defiance of: to fly in the face of tradition.

3. fly off the handle, Informal. to become very angry, esp. without warning.

4. let fly,

a. to hurl or propel (an object).

b. to give free rein to one’s anger.

5. on the fly,

a. during flight; while in the air.

b. hurriedly; without pausing.

[before 900; Middle English; Old English flēogan]

fly′a•ble, adj.

fly`a•bil′i•ty, n.



n., pl. flies.

1. any of numerous two-winged insects of the order Diptera, esp. of the family Muscidae, as the common housefly.

2. any of various winged insects, as the mayfly or firefly.

3. a fishhook dressed with feathers, silk, tinsel, etc., so as to resemble an insect or small fish, for use as a lure or bait.


1. fly in the ointment, something that spoils an otherwise pleasant thing; detriment.

2. fly on the wall, an invisible bystander, secretly watching and listening.

[before 950; Middle English flīe, Old English flēoge, flȳge]

fly′less, adj.



adj. Slang.

1. Brit. clever.

2. stylish; fine.

[of uncertain orig.]



a river in New Guinea, flowing SE from the central part to the Gulf of Papua, ab. 800 mi. (1290 km) long.

Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

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