fly

2
[ flahy ]
/ flaɪ /

noun, plural flies.

Also called true fly. any of numerous two-winged insects of the order Diptera, especially of the family Muscidae, as the common housefly.
any of various winged insects, as the mayfly or firefly.
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.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Musca.

Idioms for 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.

Origin of fly

2
before 950; Middle English flīe, Old English flēoge, flȳge; cognate with Middle Dutch vliege (Dutch vlieg), Old High German flioga (German Fliege); akin to fly1

OTHER WORDS FROM fly

fly·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for fly in the ointment (1 of 3)

fly1
/ (flaɪ) /

verb flies, flying, flew or flown

noun plural flies

Derived forms of fly

flyable, adjective

Word Origin for fly

Old English flēogan; related to Old Frisian fliāga, Old High German fliogan, Old Norse fljūga

British Dictionary definitions for fly in the ointment (2 of 3)

fly2
/ (flaɪ) /

noun plural flies

Derived forms of fly

flyless, adjective

Word Origin for fly

Old English flēoge; related to Old Norse fluga Old High German flioga; see fly 1

British Dictionary definitions for fly in the ointment (3 of 3)

fly3
/ (flaɪ) /

adjective flyer or flyest slang

mainly British knowing and sharp; smart
mainly Scot furtive or sneaky

noun

on the fly mainly Scot in secret; sneakily

Word Origin for fly

C19: of uncertain origin
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

Medicine definitions for fly in the ointment

fly
[ flī ]

n.

Any of numerous two-winged insects of the order Diptera.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for fly in the ointment

fly
[ flī ]

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.

Culture definitions for fly in the ointment

fly in the ointment

A drawback, especially one that was not at first apparent: “Sharon's lack of experience turned out to be the fly in the ointment when she applied for the job.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with fly in the ointment

fly in the ointment

A drawback or detrimental factor. For example, The new library is wonderful but there's a fly in the ointment: their catalog isn't complete yet. This term probably alludes to a biblical proverb (Ecclesiastes 10:1): “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour.” [c. 1600]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.