fly1 W2S2 [flaı] v past tense flew [flu:] past participle flown [fləun US floun]
1¦(travel by plane)¦
2¦(move through the air)¦
3¦(control a plane)¦
4¦(send somebody/something by plane)¦
5¦(use air company/service)¦
6¦(cross sea by plane)¦
8¦(move somewhere quickly)¦
10 (I) must fly
11¦(move freely)¦
13 fly the flag
14 time flies
15 fly into a rage/temper/panic etc
16 fly off the handle
17 let fly (something)
18 fly in the face of something
20 be flying high
21 fly the nest
23 fly a kite
24 go fly a kite
25 rumours/accusations etc are flying
26 fly the coop
27 fly by the seat of your pants
Phrasal verbs
 fly at somebody
to travel by plane
She's flying back to the States tomorrow.
Will you take the train there or fly?
Maurice is nervous about flying, so he usually travels overland.
fly to
The prime minister will be flying to Delhi later today for a three-day visit.
fly from/out of/in etc
He was arrested at Heathrow after flying from Brussels airport.
Lewis stopped off in Jamaica before flying on to Toronto.
if a plane, spacecraft etc flies, it moves through the air
The plane was attacked as it flew over restricted airspace.
3.) ¦(CONTROL A PLANE)¦ [I and T]
to be at the controls of a plane and direct it as it flies
She was the first woman to fly Concorde.
The pilot was instructed to fly the plane to Montreal airport.
Sonny learnt to fly when he was 15.
to take goods or people somewhere by plane
The injured boy was flown by air ambulance to the Royal London Hospital.
fly sth into/out of etc sth
US planes have been flying food and medical supplies into the area.
to use a particular ↑airline or use a particular type of ticket when you travel by plane
We usually fly economy class.
Millions of passengers fly British Airways every year.
to cross a particular ocean or area of sea in a plane
Who was the first person to fly the Atlantic?
to move through the air using wings
The mother bird will feed her chicks until they are able to fly.
The evening air was clouded with mosquitoes and other flying insects.
fly away/off/in etc
At that moment, a wasp flew in through the open window.
The little robin shook its feathers and flew away.
a) to move somewhere quickly and suddenly
fly down/across/out of etc
Ellen flew across the room and greeted her uncle with a kiss.
Rachel's hand flew to her mouth.
fly open/shut
The door flew open and a child rushed out.
b) to move quickly and suddenly through the air
There was a loud explosion, and suddenly there was glass flying everywhere.
William hit Jack on the head and sent his glasses flying .
The ball bounced off the wall and went flying into the garden next door.
9.) ¦(KITE)¦ [T]
to make a ↑kite fly in the air
In the park people were walking their dogs or flying their kites.
10.) (I) must fly
[i]spoken used to say that you must leave quickly
11.) ¦(MOVE FREELY)¦
to move freely and loosely in the air
Harriet ran after him, her hair flying behind her.
12.) ¦(FLAG)¦ [I and T]
if a flag flies, or if you fly it, it is fixed to the top of a tall pole so that it can be easily seen
After the invasion, people were forbidden to fly their national flag.
The flags were flying cheerfully in the breeze.
The government ordered that all flags should be flown at half mast (=halfway down the pole, in order to express public sadness at someone's death) .
13.) fly the flag
to behave in a way that shows that you are proud of your country, organization etc
14.) time flies [i]also the hours/the days etc fly
used to say that a period of time seems to pass very quickly
'Is it midnight already?' 'Well, you know what they say - time flies when you're having fun !'
time flies by
The following weeks flew by, and soon it was time to leave.
15.) fly into a rage/temper/panic etc
to suddenly get extremely angry, extremely worried etc
Rebecca flew into a rage when she realized no-one had been listening to her.
16.) fly off the handle informal
to suddenly get very angry
Calm down, Terry - there's no need to fly off the handle.
17.) let fly (sth)
a) to suddenly start shouting angrily at someone
= ↑let loose
The prisoner let fly with a torrent of abuse.
b) to suddenly attack someone, especially with bullets or a weapon that is thrown
let fly (something) with
The soldiers let fly with a hail of machine-gun fire.
18.) fly in the face of sth
to be the opposite of what most people think is reasonable, sensible, or normal
He likes to fly in the face of convention.
19.) ¦(ESCAPE)¦ [T] formal
to leave somewhere in order to escape
= ↑flee
By the time the police arrived, the men had flown.
20.) be flying high
to be having a lot of success
The architectural firm has been flying high recently.
21.) fly the nest
a) if a young bird flies the nest, it has grown old enough to look after itself and is no longer dependent on its parents
b) if a young person flies the nest, he or she moves out of their parents' home in order to live independently
Now that the kids have flown the nest, I'm thinking about taking a job abroad.
22.) ¦(PLAN)¦
[i]AmE a plan that will fly will be successful and useful
News is that the plan for the new hotel isn't going to fly .
23.) fly a kite
to tell people about an idea, plan etc in order to get their opinion
In my latest book, I wanted to fly the kite for an unfashionable theory.
24.) go fly a kite
AmE spoken used to tell someone to go away, stop saying something, or stop annoying you
25.) rumours/accusations etc are flying
when a lot of people are talking about something, saying someone has done something wrong etc
Rumours were flying as to how the fire started.
26.) fly the coop
AmE informal to leave or escape
All my children have flown the coop now.
27.) fly by the seat of your pants informal
to have to deal with a situation by guessing what to do, because you know very little about it
= ↑wing it
Sometimes you'll get back and find that things have changed, so you'll be flying by the seat of your pants for a while.
the bird has flown atbird, as the crow flies atcrow1 (3), sparks fly atspark1 (6)
fly at [fly at sb] phr v
to suddenly rush towards someone and try to hit them because you are very angry with them
fly 2
fly2 past tense and past participle flied present participle flying third person singular flies
to hit a ball in baseball high into the air
fly 3
fly3 [i]plural flies
3 somebody wouldn't hurt/harm a fly
4 be dying/dropping etc like flies
5 a fly in the ointment
6 be a fly on the wall
7 there are no flies on somebody
8 on the fly
[Sense: 1, 3-7, 9; Origin: Old English fleoge]
[Sense: 2, 8, 10; Date: 1800-1900; Origin: FLY1]
1.) ¦(INSECT)¦
a small flying insect with two wings
There were flies buzzing all around us.
2.) ¦(TROUSERS)¦
especially AmE also flies [plural]
BrE the part at the front of a pair of trousers which you can open
He quickly did up his fly.
Your flies are undone.
3.) sb wouldn't hurt/harm a fly informal
used to say that someone is very gentle and is not likely to hurt anyone
4.) be dying/dropping etc like flies informal
used to say that a lot of people are dying or becoming ill
5.) a fly in the ointment informal
the only thing that spoils something and prevents it from being successful
The only fly in the ointment was Jacky.
6.) be a fly on the wall
to be able to watch what happens without other people knowing that you are there
I wish I'd been a fly on the wall during that conversation.
7.) there are no flies on sb
BrE spoken used to say that someone is not stupid and cannot be tricked
8.) on the fly
a) technical while a computer program is actually running
The code is translated on the fly.
b) while dealing with a situation, rather than before dealing with it
So far, policy is being made on the fly.
9.) ¦(FISHING)¦
a hook that is made to look like a fly and is used for catching fish
a fly ball
fly 4
fly4 adj
[Date: 1800-1900; Origin: Probably from FLY1]
1.) informal very fashionable and attractive
Wear something really fly for your Friday date.
2.) BrE old-fashioned clever and not easily tricked
He's a bit of a fly character.

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.

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