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fly - definition and synonyms


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verb fly pronunciation in British English /flaɪ/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleflying
past tenseflew
past participleflown
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  1. 1
    [intransitive] to travel by plane

    Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly.

    fly from/to:

    I flew from London to Amsterdam to meet the other members of the group.

    fly into:

    We flew into Heathrow on Monday evening.

    1. a.
      [intransitive] if a plane flies, it moves through the air

      The bombers were flying over enemy territory.

    2. b.
      [transitive] to take people or goods somewhere by plane
      fly someone/something in/out:

      Helicopters are helping to fly out survivors.

    3. c.
      [intransitive/transitive] to control a plane when it is in the air

      He had always wanted to learn to fly.

      My grandfather flew bombers during the war.

      a pilot who flew over 100 missions

    4. d.
      [transitive] to use a particular company or travel in a particular class when you are travelling by plane

      I’m flying British Airways this time.

    5. e.
      [transitive] to go across an area of water or land in a plane

      How long does it take to fly the Atlantic?

  2. 2
    [intransitive] to use wings to move through the air

    Not all insects can fly.

    fly past/over/up etc:

    A huge eagle came flying past.

    White gulls flew over our heads.

    Synonyms and related words
    Synonyms and related words
    See also crow1
  3. 3
    [intransitive] to move very fast through the air
    fly past/by/towards/into:

    A bullet flew past his head.

    Pieces of glass and concrete were flying in all directions.

    1. a.
      to move or go very quickly
      fly into/along/through/out:

      We flew into each other’s arms.

      Sheila flew along the corridor to the control room.

      fly open:

      The door flew open and the head teacher marched in.

  4. 4
    [intransitive] to be blown around in the wind

    She stood on the clifftop, her grey hair flying in the wind.

  5. 5
    [intransitive/transitive] if you fly a flag, or if it flies, it is on the top of a pole or building

    Some of the buildings were flying the French flag.

    Every American school has a national flag flying outside it.

    1. a.
      if you fly a kite, or if it flies, you hold it on the end of a long piece of string and it blows about in the wind
  6. 6
    [intransitive] if time flies, it seems to pass very quickly
    fly by:

    Six months flew by, and it was time to come home again.

    fly past:

    The weekend with her family seemed to fly past.

  7. 7
    [intransitive] if ideas or opinions are flying, people are talking about them a lot

    The fire was so suspicious that rumours started flying almost immediately.

    fly around/about:

    There are a lot of wild theories flying around.

  8. 8
    [intransitive] informal if an idea or a statement flies, people accept or approve of it

    It’s a great idea, but will it fly?

  9. 9
    [intransitive/transitive] formal to leave a place suddenly in order to escape from a difficult or dangerous situation
    fly the country:

    Thousands flew the country when he came to power.

phrasal verbs


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