Also called true fly . any of numerous two-winged insects of the order Diptera, especially of the family Muscidae, as the common housefly.
Angling. a fishhook dressed with hair, feathers, silk, tinsel, etc., so as to resemble an insect or small fish, for use as a lure or bait.
Fly, Astronomy. the constellation Musca.
Idioms about fly
fly in the ointment, a detrimental factor; detraction: If there's one fly in the ointment, it's that there may not be the money to finish the job.
- flyless, adjective
Other definitions for fly (2 of 3)
to move through the air using wings.
to be carried through the air by the wind or any other force or agency: bits of paper flying about.
to float or flutter in the air: flags flying in the breeze.
to travel in an aircraft or spacecraft.
to move suddenly and quickly; start unexpectedly: He flew from the room.
to change rapidly and unexpectedly from one state or position to another: The door flew open.
to flee; escape.
to travel in space: The probe will fly past the planet.
to move or pass swiftly: How time flies!
to move with an aggressive surge: A mother fox will fly at anyone approaching her kits.
to bat a fly ball: He flied into right field.
to fly out.
Informal. to be acceptable, believable, or feasible: It seemed like a good idea, but it just wouldn't fly.
to make (something) float or move through the air: to fly a kite.
to operate (an aircraft, spacecraft, or the like).
to hoist aloft, as for display, signaling, etc.: to fly a flag.
to operate an aircraft or spacecraft over: to fly the Pacific.
to transport or convey by air: We fly merchandise to Boston.
to escape from; flee: to fly someone's wrath.
to hang (scenery) above a stage by means of rigging supported by the gridiron.
to raise (scenery) from the stage or acting area into the flies.
a strip of material sewn along one edge of a garment opening for concealing buttons, zippers, or other fasteners.
a flap forming the door of a tent.
Also called tent fly. a piece of canvas extending over the ridgepole of a tent and forming an outer roof.
an act of flying; a flight.
the course of a flying object, as a ball.
Baseball. fly ball.
British. a light, covered, public carriage drawn by one horse; hansom; hackney coach.
Machinery. a horizontal arm, weighted at each end, that pivots about the screw of a press so that when the screw is lowered the momentum of the fly will increase the force of the press.
Also called fan. Horology. a regulating device for chime and striking mechanisms, consisting of an arrangement of vanes on a revolving axis.
(in some presses) the apparatus for removing the printed sheets to the delivery table.
Also called flyboy. (formerly) a printer's devil employed to remove printed sheets from a press.
(on a flag)
the horizontal dimension of a flag as flown from a vertical staff.
the end of the flag farther from the staff.: Compare hoist (def. 7).
flies. Also called fly loft .Theater. the space above the stage used chiefly for storing scenery and equipment.
Nautical. a propellerlike device streamed to rotate and transfer information on speed to a mechanical log.
fly out, Baseball, Softball. to be put out by hitting a fly ball that is caught by a player of the opposing team.
- fly·a·ble, adjective
- fly·a·bil·i·ty, noun
- non·fly·a·ble, adjective
- re·fly·a·ble, adjective
- un·fly·a·ble, adjective
Other definitions for fly (3 of 3)
Slang. stylish, attractive, sophisticated, etc.: She put on silver stilettos, her flyest outfit, and plenty of bling, ready to party till dawn.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use fly in a sentence
The notion that Republican electoral victories require massive political inequality flies in the face of all kinds of common sense.
It also has a built-in can holder, as well as a large pocket for a phone and a small fly box.The Gear That Lets Me Enjoy the Last Days of Summer | Graham Averill | September 15, 2020 | Outside Online
Eventually, the hatched queen flies off with about half the worker bees to start a new colony.Quacks and toots help young honeybee queens avoid deadly duels | Sharon Oosthoek | September 14, 2020 | Science News For Students
Rather than figuring it out and building that plane as we fly it, we were in a position so to mold the clay that we have been getting already.Deep Dive: How the Summer of 2020 forced brand marketing to change for the better | jim cooper | September 14, 2020 | Digiday
The day the derby began, dozens of cases were confirmed, with some isolated in a school building and at least 20 others flown out of town via helicopter.How a Swiss Ski Resort Was Ravaged by Typhoid and Survived | Daniel Malloy | September 9, 2020 | Ozy
Andrew still plans to fly to Davos in Switzerland for the World Economic Forum on January 21, representing the British government.
After some animated debate at the conference, Lelaie declared, with some frustration, “If you push on the stick, you will fly.”Flight 8501 Poses Question: Are Modern Jets Too Automated to Fly? | Clive Irving | January 4, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
Thus it attracted a wave of cowboy operators to fly passengers and cargo between cities.
Many of these are small operations that would never, in any case, fly beyond Indonesia.
Air traffic controllers and pilots together take great care not to fly in conditions that can jeopardize an airplane.
Aristide darted off like a dragon-fly in the sunshine, as happy as a child with a new toy.The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol | William J. Locke
“Confound it, no;” rejoined Mr. Simmery, stopping for an instant to smash a fly with the ruler.The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, v. 2(of 2) | Charles Dickens
They must be kept away from flies—a fly can work havoc with a film in a few minutes.A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis | James Campbell Todd
The non-elastic character of water made it unsuitable for a machine requiring a fly-wheel.Life of Richard Trevithick, Volume II (of 2) | Francis Trevithick
What of the infinite goodness of God in teaching the grub of the ichneumon-fly to eat up the cabbage caterpillar alive?God and my Neighbour | Robert Blatchford
British Dictionary definitions for fly (1 of 3)
(intr) (of birds, aircraft, etc) to move through the air in a controlled manner using aerodynamic forces
to travel over (an area of land or sea) in an aircraft
to operate (an aircraft or spacecraft)
to float, flutter, or be displayed in the air or cause to float, etc, in this way: to fly a kite; they flew the flag
to transport or be transported by or through the air by aircraft, wind, etc
(intr) to move or be moved very quickly, forcibly, or suddenly: she came flying towards me; the door flew open
(intr) to pass swiftly: time flies
to escape from (an enemy, place, etc); flee: he flew the country
(intr; may be foll by at or upon) to attack a person
(intr) to have a sudden outburst: he flew into a rage again
(intr) (of money, etc) to vanish rapidly
(tr) falconry (of hawks) to fly at (quarry) in attack: peregrines fly rooks
(tr) theatre to suspend (scenery) above the stage so that it may be lowered into view
fly a kite
to procure money by an accommodation bill
to release information or take a step in order to test public opinion
fly high informal
to have a high aim
to prosper or flourish
fly in the face of See face (def. 19)
fly off the handle informal to lose one's temper
fly the coop US and Canadian informal to leave suddenly
go fly a kite US and Canadian informal go away
let fly informal
to lose one's temper (with a person): she really let fly at him
to shoot or throw (an object)
Also called: fly front (often plural) a closure that conceals a zip, buttons, or other fastening, by having one side overlapping, as on trousers
Also called: fly sheet
a flap forming the entrance to a tent
a piece of canvas drawn over the ridgepole of a tent to form an outer roof
a small air brake used to control the chiming of large clocks
the horizontal weighted arm of a fly press
the outer edge of a flag
the distance from the outer edge of a flag to the staff: Compare hoist (def. 9)
British a light one-horse covered carriage formerly let out on hire
Australian and NZ an attempt: I'll give it a fly
a device for transferring printed sheets from the press to a flat pile
Also called: flyhand a person who collects and stacks printed matter from a printing press
a piece of paper folded once to make four pages, with printing only on the first page
(plural) theatre the space above the stage out of view of the audience, used for storing scenery, etc
rare the act of flying
- flyable, adjective
British Dictionary definitions for fly (2 of 3)
any of various similar but unrelated insects, such as the caddis fly, firefly, dragonfly, and chalcid fly
(in southern Africa) an area that is infested with the tsetse fly
drink with the flies Australian slang to drink alone
fly in amber See amber (def. 2)
fly in the ointment informal a slight flaw that detracts from value, completeness, or enjoyment
fly on the wall a person who watches others, while not being noticed himself or herself
there are no flies on him informal he is no fool
- flyless, adjective
British Dictionary definitions for fly (3 of 3)
mainly British knowing and sharp; smart
mainly Scot furtive or sneaky
on the fly mainly Scot in secret; sneakily
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
Scientific definitions for fly
Any of numerous insects of the order Diptera, having one pair of wings and large compound eyes. Flies include the houseflies, horseflies, and mosquitoes. See more at dipteran.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.