fly Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “fly” in the English Dictionary

"fly" in British 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 ​poorbird couldn't fly because it had a ​brokenwing. 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 ​particularcompany to ​travel by ​aircraft: I usually fly Lufthansa/Japan Airlines/El Al.
C2 [T] to ​transportpeople or ​goods by ​aircraft: The ​restaurant flies ​itsfish indaily from ​Scotland. We will be flying 100 ​badlywoundedcivilians out of the ​battlezonetonight.
B2 [I or T] to ​control an ​aircraft: I ​learned to fly when I was in ​Australia.

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  • 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 ​holidayseems to have flown (by) (= ​passed very ​quickly) this ​year. The ​door/​windowsuddenly flew open.UK informal Anyway, I must fly (= ​leavequickly) - I didn't ​realize how late it was!

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  • 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 ​Spanishflag. The ​flag was flying at ​half-mast (= ​brought down to a ​pointhalf 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 ​passedquickly from one ​person to another and ​causeexcitement: Rumors are flying that the ​school may ​close.

flynoun [C]

uk   /flaɪ/  us   /flaɪ/
  • fly noun [C] (INSECT)

B1 a ​smallinsect with two ​wings

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  • fly noun [C] (FISHING)

a hook (= ​curvedpiece of ​wire) with ​colouredthreadsfastened to it, ​attached to the end of a ​fishingline to ​attractfish
(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/ )
  • fly verb (TRAVEL THROUGH AIR)

[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 ​enjoywatching the ​birds fly over the ​water. [I] Are you ​planning to fly or ​drive to Toronto? [I] Some of ​ourpilots 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 ​ranoutside. The ​summerseems to have flown by (= ​passedquickly).
  • 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 ​smallinsect with two ​wings
  • fly noun (PANTS)

[C usually sing] the ​coveredopening at the ​front of a ​pair of ​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 ​deepcenterfield.
(Definition of fly from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"fly" in Business English

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uk   us   /flaɪ/ (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 ​businessexecutives are flying out of the state's ​ business class/economy/standby They flew ​businessclass to Johannesburg ​overnight.
[T + adv/prep] TRANSPORT to ​transportpeople 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 ​brandname 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 ​privateenterprisesystem.
Phrasal verbs
(Definition of fly from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“fly” in Business English

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