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[flahyt-lis] /ˈflaɪt lɪs/
incapable of flying:
flightless birds such as the moa, rhea, and dodo.
Origin of flightless
1870-75; flight1 + -less Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for flightless
Historical Examples
  • It was probably a poor flier, though not flightless, as Fulica chathamensis was.

    Extinct Birds Walter Rothschild
  • There are flightless birds, but they all live in climates in which they can exist at all seasons.

    The Migration of Birds T. A. Coward
  • It is large in the flightless Penguins, which use their wings for swimming.

    The Vertebrate Skeleton Sidney H. Reynolds
  • The wekas or Maori hens are small, flightless birds, averaging when full grown about two and three-quarter pounds.

    The Home of the Blizzard Douglas Mawson
  • Several of these flightless swans were starved to death in 1902.

  • This appears to have been a very large species, with not very great powers of flight, if not flightless.

    Extinct Birds Walter Rothschild
  • flightless rails have apparently developed in the absence of predation.

  • Of the older writers only Leguat appears to have described the Rodriguez flightless rail.

    Extinct Birds Walter Rothschild
  • Here we find the flightless Apteryx and a flightless goose now extinct, also the extinct Moa.

  • A flightless, juvenal female was obtained by local boys at Pisté on July 21.

British Dictionary definitions for flightless


(of certain birds and insects) unable to fly See also ratite
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for flightless

1875, from flight (n.1) + -less.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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