fly1 S2 W2 past tense flew, past participle flown
to travel by plane:
travel by plane[intransitive]TTA
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.
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:
move through the air[intransitive]TTA
The plane was attacked as it flew over restricted airspace.
to be at the controls of a plane and direct it as it flies:
control a plane[intransitive and transitive]TTA
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:
send somebody/something by plane[transitive]TTA
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.
to use a particular airline or use a particular type of ticket when you travel by plane:
use air company/service[intransitive and transitive]TTA
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:
cross sea by plane[transitive]TTA
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 robin shook its feathers and flew away.
move somewhere quickly[intransitive]
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.
The door flew open and a child rushed out.
to make a kite fly in the air:
In the park people were walking their dogs or flying their kites.
used to say that you must leave quickly
to move freely and loosely in the air:
Harriet ran after him, her hair flying behind her.
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:
flag[intransitive and transitive]
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).
to behave in a way that shows that you are proud of your country, organization etc
14 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.
to suddenly get extremely angry, extremely worried etc:
Rebecca flew into a rage when she realized no-one had been listening to her.
to suddenly get very angry:
Calm down - there's no need to fly off the handle.
to suddenly start shouting angrily at someone [= let loose]:
The prisoner let fly with a torrent of abuse.
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.
to be the opposite of what most people think is reasonable, sensible, or normal:
He likes to fly in the face of convention.
to leave somewhere in order to escape [= flee]:
By the time the police arrived, the men had flown.
to be having a lot of success:
The architectural firm has been flying high recently.
if a young bird flies the nest, it has grown old enough to look after itself and is no longer dependent on its parents
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.
a plan that will fly will be successful and useful:
plan[intransitive] American English
News is that the plan for the new hotel isn't going to fly.
to tell people about an idea, plan etc in order to get their opinion: ➔ kite-flying (2)
In my latest book, I wanted to fly the kite for an unfashionable theory.
24 American English spoken
used to tell someone to go away, stop saying something, or stop annoying you
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 American English informal
to leave or escape:
All my children have flown the coop now.
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.