verb (used with object), fledged, fledg·ing.
  1. to bring up (a young bird) until it is able to fly.
  2. to furnish with or as if with feathers or plumage.
  3. to provide (an arrow) with feathers.
verb (used without object), fledged, fledg·ing.
  1. (of a young bird) to acquire the feathers necessary for flight.
  1. Archaic. (of young birds) able to fly.

Origin of fledge

1350–1400; Middle English flegge (fully-)fledged, Old English *flecge, as variant of -flycge; cognate with Old High German flucki, Middle Low German vlügge (> German flügge); akin to fly1
Related formsfledge·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of fledge

British Dictionary definitions for fledge


  1. (tr) to feed and care for (a young bird) until it is able to fly
  2. Also called: fletch (tr) to fit (something, esp an arrow) with a feather or feathers
  3. (intr) (of a young bird) to grow feathers
  4. (tr) to cover or adorn with or as if with feathers

Word Origin for fledge

Old English -flycge, as in unflycge unfledged; related to Old High German flucki able to fly; see fly 1
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

Word Origin and History for fledge

Old English *-flycge (Kentish -flecge),an adjective meaning "having the feathers, fit to fly," from West Germanic *fluggja- (cf. Middle Dutch vlugge, Low German flügge), from root meaning "to fly" (see fly (v.)). As a verb, it is first attested in English 1560s. Related: Fledged; fledging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper