fly ( flies plural & 3rd person present) ( flying present participle) ( flew past tense) ( flown past participle )
1 n-count A fly is a small insect with two wings. There are many kinds of flies, and the most common are black in colour.
2 verb When something such as a bird, insect, or aircraft flies, it moves through the air.
The planes flew through the clouds... V prep/adv
The bird flew away. V prep/adv, Also V
3 verb If you fly somewhere, you travel there in an aircraft.
He flew back to London... V prep/adv
Mr Baker flew in from Moscow. V prep/adv
4 verb When someone flies an aircraft, they control its movement in the air.
Parker had successfully flown both aircraft... V n
He flew a small plane to Cuba... V n prep/adv
His inspiration to fly came even before he joined the Army. V
...a flying instructor.
5 verb To fly someone or something somewhere means to take or send them there in an aircraft.
The relief supplies are being flown from a warehouse in Pisa. V n adv/prep
6 verb If something such as your hair is flying about, it is moving about freely and loosely in the air.
His long, uncovered hair flew back in the wind... V adv/prep
She was running down the stairs, her hair flying. V
7 verb If you fly a flag or if it is flying, you display it at the top of a pole.
They flew the flag of the African National Congress... V n
A flag was flying on the new military HQ. V
8 verb If you say that someone or something flies in a particular direction, you are emphasizing that they move there with a lot of speed or force., (emphasis)
I flew downstairs... V prep/adv
9 n-count The front opening on a pair of trousers is referred to as the fly, or in British English the flies. It usually consists of a zip or row of buttons behind a band of cloth.
11 If you say that someone wouldn't hurt a fly or wouldn't harm a fly, you are emphasizing that they are very kind and gentle.
wouldn't harm a fly phrase with brd-neg, V inflects (emphasis)
...a lovely girl, who would not have harmed a fly.
12 If you let fly, you attack someone, either physically by hitting them, or with words by insulting them.
let fly phrase V inflects
A simmering row ended with her letting fly with a stream of obscenities.
13 If you send someone or something flying or if they go flying, they move through the air and fall down with a lot of force.
send someone/something flying phrase V inflects, PHR after v
The blow sent the young man flying.
14 If you say that you would like to be a fly on the wall in a situation that does not involve you, you mean that you would like to see or hear what happens in that situation.
fly on the wall phrase v-link PHR
What I'd give to be a fly on the wall when Davis finds out what's happened to his precious cargo.
as the crow flies →
to fly in the face of →
to fly the flag →
to fly off the handle →
a fly in the ointment →
pigs might fly →
sparks fly →
time flies →
time fly at phrasal verb If you fly at someone, you attack them, either physically by hitting them, or with words by insulting them.
(=let fly at) She flew at him for making a very anti-British remark. V P n fly into phrasal verb If you fly into a bad temper or a panic, you suddenly become very angry or anxious and show this in your behaviour. Losing a game would cause him to fly into a rage. V P n
A fly-by-night businessman is someone who wants to make money very quickly, without caring about the quality or honesty of the service they offer.
INFORMAL adj ADJ n (disapproval)
...fly-by-night operators who fail to complete jobs.
On a fly-drive holiday, you travel part of the way to your destination by aeroplane, and collect a hired car at the airport so that you can drive the rest of the way. adj ADJ n
...a fly-drive break in New Zealand.
fly-fishing , fly fishing
Fly-fishing is a method of fishing in which a silk or nylon model of a small winged insect is used as bait. n-uncount
A fly-on-the-wall documentary is made by filming people as they do the things they normally do, rather than by interviewing them or asking them to talk directly to the camera. adj ADJ n
...a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the Queen's life.
a fly on the wall
fruit fly ( fruit flies plural ) Fruit flies are very small flies which eat fruit and rotting plants. n-count
no-fly zone ( no-fly zones plural ) A no-fly zone is an area of sky where military and other aircraft are not allowed to fly, especially because of a war. n-count
tsetse fly ( tsetse flies plural ) , tsetse A tsetse fly or a tsetse is an African fly that feeds on blood and can cause serious diseases in the people and animals that it bites. n-var