1 verb
fly1 S2 W2 past tense flew, past participle flown

travel by plane

[intransitive]TTA 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.

move through the air

[intransitive]TTA if a plane, spacecraft etc flies, it moves through the air:
The plane was attacked as it flew over restricted airspace.

control a plane

[intransitive and transitive]TTA 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.

send somebody/something by plane

[transitive]TTA to take goods or people somewhere by plane:
The injured boy was flown by air ambulance to the Royal London Hospital.
fly something into/out of etc something
US planes have been flying food and medical supplies into the area.

use air company/service

[intransitive and transitive]TTA 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.

cross sea by plane

[transitive]TTA to cross a particular ocean or area of sea in a plane:
Who was the first person to fly the Atlantic?


[intransitive]HBBHBI 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 robin shook its feathers and flew away.

move somewhere quickly

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.


[transitive] to make a kite fly in the air:
In the park people were walking their dogs or flying their kites.

(I) must fly

spoken used to say that you must leave quickly

move freely

[intransitive] to move freely and loosely in the air:
Harriet ran after him, her hair flying behind her.


[intransitive and transitive] 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).

fly the flag

to behave in a way that shows that you are proud of your country, organization etc

time flies

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.

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.

fly off the handle

informal to suddenly get very angry:
Calm down - there's no need to fly off the handle.

let fly (something)

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.

fly in the face of something

to be the opposite of what most people think is reasonable, sensible, or normal:
He likes to fly in the face of convention.


[transitive] formal to leave somewhere in order to escape [= flee]:
By the time the police arrived, the men had flown.

be flying high

to be having a lot of success:
The architectural firm has been flying high recently.

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.


[intransitive] American English a plan that will fly will be successful and useful:
News is that the plan for the new hotel isn't going to fly.

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.
kite-flying (2)

go fly a kite

American English spoken used to tell someone to go away, stop saying something, or stop annoying you

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.

fly the coop

American English informal to leave or escape:
All my children have flown the coop now.

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

at bird (8)

; ➔ as the crow flies

at crow1 (3)

; ➔ sparks fly

at spark1 (6)

fly at somebody

phrasal verb
to suddenly rush towards someone and try to hit them because you are very angry with them

Dictionary results for "fly"
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