Meaning of “fly” in the English Dictionary

"fly" in English

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uk /flaɪ/ us /flaɪ/ flew, flown

fly verb (TRAVEL)

A2 [ I ] When a bird, insect, or aircraft flies, it moves through the air:

The poor bird couldn't fly because it had a broken wing.
As soon as it saw us, the bird flew away/off.

A1 [ I or T ] to travel by aircraft, or to go somewhere or cross something in an aircraft:

We flew to Paris.
We fly from/out from/out of La Guardia, but fly back (in)to JKF.
We are flying at a height of 36,000 feet.
She has to fly thousands of miles every year for her job.
Who was the first person to fly (across) the Atlantic?

[ T ] to use a particular company to travel by aircraft:

I usually fly Lufthansa/Japan Airlines/El Al.

C2 [ T ] to transport people or goods by aircraft:

The restaurant flies its fish in daily from Scotland.
We will be flying 100 badly wounded civilians out of the battle zone tonight.

B2 [ I or T ] to control an aircraft:

I learned to fly when I was in Australia.

More examples

fly verb (MOVE QUICKLY)

[ I ] to move or go quickly:

With the explosion, glass flew across the room.
Cathy flew by/past me in the corridor.
My holiday seems to have flown (by) (= passed very quickly) this year.
UK informal Anyway, I must fly (= leave quickly) - I didn't realize how late it was!

More examples

fly verb (WAVE)

[ I or T ] to wave or move about in the air while being fixed at one end:

The ship was flying the Spanish flag.
The flag was flying at half-mast (= brought down to a point half way down the pole) to mark the death of the president.
There isn't really enough wind to fly a kite today.

fly verb (SPREAD)

[ I ] mainly US If rumours, accusations, etc. fly, , they are passed quickly from one person to another and cause excitement:

Rumors are flying that the school may close.

flynoun [ C ]

uk /flaɪ/ us /flaɪ/

fly noun [ C ] (TROUSERS)

UK also flies the opening at the front of a pair of trousers:

Hey Chris, your fly's undone!

(Definition of “fly” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"fly" in American English

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us /flɑɪ/ past tense flew /flu/ , past participle flown /floʊn/


[ I/T ] (of creatures, objects, or aircraft) to move through the air, or (of people) to travel by aircraft:

[ I ] The building just exploded, and glass flew through the air.
[ I ] We enjoy watching the birds fly over the water.
[ I ] Are you planning to fly or drive to Toronto?
[ I ] Some of our pilots have been flying (= operating an aircraft) for 20 years.
[ I/T ] What airline are you flying (on) (= traveling on as a passenger)?

fly verb (MOVE QUICKLY)

[ I ] to move or go quickly or suddenly:

Theo was startled when the door flew open.
Saying she was late, Cathy flew by me and ran outside.
The summer seems to have flown by (= passed quickly).

fly verb (WAVE)

[ I/T ] to move around in the air while being held at one end, or to cause something attached at one end to be moved:

[ I ] Flags flew from the front of every house.


us /flɑɪ/

fly noun (INSECT)

[ C ] a small insect with two wings

fly noun (PANTS)

fly noun (BALL)

[ C ] also fly ball, /ˈflɑɪˈbɔl/ in baseball, a ball that has been hit high into the air:

He caught the fly in deep center field.

(Definition of “fly” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"fly" in Business English

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uk /flaɪ/ us flew, flown

[ I ] TRANSPORT to travel in an aircraft:

How long does it take to fly from Heathrow to Los Angeles?
fly out of/into somewhere More and more business executives are flying out of the state's commercial airports.
fly business class/economy/standby They flew business class to Johannesburg overnight.

[ T + adv/prep ] TRANSPORT to transport people or goods by aircraft:

Oil workers are flown by helicopter to the rigs.

[ I ] informal to be successful or popular:

We're hoping the new brand name will fly.
fly a kite

to make a suggestion in order to get the reaction of others to it:

In my opinion he is flying a kite that would destroy the private enterprise system.

Phrasal verb(s)

(Definition of “fly” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)