- one of a pair of airfoils attached transversely to the fuselage of an aircraft and providing lift.
- both airfoils, taken collectively.
- the platform or space on the right or left of the stage proper.
- wing flat.
- any leaflike expansion, as of a samara.
- one of the two side petals of a papilionaceous flower.
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- in flight, or flying: a bird on the wing.
- in motion; traveling; active: Scouts are on the wing in search of a new talent.
- to begin to fly; take to the air.
- to leave in haste; depart: Our resolutions to economize swiftly took wing.
Origin of wing
- a half of the main supporting surface on an aircraft, confined to one side of it
- the full span of the main supporting surface on both sides of an aircraft
- an aircraft designed as one complete wing
- a position in flight formation, just to the rear and to one side of an aircraft
- an organ or apparatus resembling a wing
- anatomyany bodily structure resembling a wingthe wings of a sphenoid bone Technical name: ala
- either of the lateral petals of a sweetpea or related flower
- any of various outgrowths of a plant part, esp the process on a wind-dispersed fruit or seed
- either of the two sides of the pitch near the touchline
- a player stationed in such a position; winger
- about to leave
- to lift off or fly away
- to depart in haste
- to become joyful
- to restrict someone's freedom
- to thwart someone's ambition
verb (mainly tr)
Word Origin for wing
late 12c., wenge, from Old Norse vængr "wing of a bird, aisle, etc." (cf. Danish and Swedish vinge "wing"), of unknown origin, perhaps from a Proto-Germanic *we-ingjaz and ultimately from PIE root *we- "blow" (cf. Old English wawan "to blow;" see wind (n.)). Replaced Old English feðra (plural) "wings" (see feather). The meaning "either of two divisions of a political party, army, etc." is first recorded c.1400; theatrical sense is from 1790.
Verbal phrase wing it (1885) is from theatrical slang sense of an actor learning his lines in the wings before going onstage, or else not learning them at all and being fed by a prompter in the wings. The verb to wing "shoot a bird in the wing" is from 1802. The slang sense of to earn (one's) wings is 1940s, from the wing-shaped badges awarded to air cadets on graduation. To be under (someone's) wing "protected by (someone)" is recorded from early 13c. Phrase on a wing and a prayer is title of a 1943 song about landing a damaged aircraft.
Improvise, as in The interviewer had not read the author's book; he was just winging it. This expression comes from the theater, where it alludes to an actor studying his part in the wings (the areas to either side of the stage) because he has been suddenly called on to replace another. First recorded in 1885, it eventually was extended to other kinds of improvisation based on unpreparedness.
In addition to the idiom beginning with wing
- wing it
- clip someone's wings
- in the wings
- left wing
- on the wing
- take flight (wing)
- under someone's wing