an act or instance of fleeing or running away; hasty departure.


    put to flight, to force to flee or run away; rout: She succeeded in putting the intruder to flight.
    take flight, to retreat; run away; flee: The wild animals took flight before the onrushing fire.Also take to flight.

Origin of flight

1150–1200; Middle English; cognate with German Flucht; akin to flee
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for take flight

fly, shoot, rush, travel, dash, race, jog, sprint, bound, dump, skip, scamper, dart, jump, leap, scoot, escape, flee, depart, wane

British Dictionary definitions for take flight




the act, skill, or manner of flying
a journey made by a flying animal or object
  1. a scheduled airline journey
  2. an aircraft flying on such a journey
a group of flying birds or aircrafta flight of swallows
the basic tactical unit of a military air force
a journey through space, esp of a spacecraft
rapid movement or progress
a soaring mental journey above or beyond the normal everyday worlda flight of fancy
  1. a single line of hurdles across a track in a race
  2. a series of such hurdles
a bird's wing or tail feather; flight feather
a feather or plastic attachment fitted to an arrow or dart to give it stability in flight
the distance covered by a flight arrow
sport, esp cricket
  1. a flighted movement imparted to a ball, dart, etc
  2. the ability to flight a ball
angling a device on a spinning lure that revolves rapidly
a set of steps or stairs between one landing or floor and the next
a large enclosed area attached to an aviary or pigeon loft where the birds may fly but not escape


(tr) sport to cause (a ball, dart, etc) to float slowly or deceptively towards its target
(intr) (of wild fowl) to fly in groups
(tr) to shoot (a bird) in flight
(tr) to fledge (an arrow or a dart)

Word Origin for flight

Old English flyht; related to Middle Dutch vlucht, Old Saxon fluht




the act of fleeing or running away, as from danger
put to flight to cause to run away; rout
take flight or take to flight to run away or withdraw hastily; flee

Word Origin for flight

Old English flyht (unattested); related to Old Frisian flecht, Old High German fluht, Old Norse flōtti
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 take flight



"act of flying," Old English flyht "a flying, flight," from Proto-Germanic *flukhtiz (cf. Dutch vlucht "flight of birds," Old Norse flugr, Old High German flug, German Flug "flight"), from root of *fleugan "to fly" (see fly (v.1)).

Spelling altered late 14c. from Middle English fliht (see fight (v.)). Meaning "an instance of flight" is 1785, originally of ballooning. Meaning "series of stairs between landings" is from 1703.



"act of fleeing," from Middle English fluht (c.1200), not found in Old English, but presumed to have existed. Related to Old English fleon "flee" (see flee), and cognate with Old Saxon fluht, Old Frisian flecht "act of fleeing," Dutch vlucht, Old High German fluht, German Flucht, Old Nprse flotti, Gothic þlauhs.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with take flight

take flight

Also, take wing. Run away, flee, go away, as in When the militia arrived, the demonstrators took flight, or The tenant took wing before paying the rent. The first idiom derives from the earlier take one's flight, dating from the late 1300s, and was first recorded in 1435. The variant was first recorded in 1704.


In addition to the idioms beginning with flight

  • flight of fancy

also see:

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