Definition of flying in English:



  • 1Moving or able to move through the air with wings.

    ‘a flying ant’
    • ‘Flight-line personnel moved from OMS into the tactical flying squadrons.’
    • ‘The handgrip was in the shape of a flying creature with outstretched wings that he immediately identified as a dragon.’
    • ‘For many flying animals, natural and sexual selection likely work in concert to promote enhanced maneuverability.’
    • ‘The largest of the North American native waterfowl and one of our heaviest flying birds, the Trumpeter Swan is large and white.’
    • ‘At the time it left Australia, it was the oldest registered flying aircraft in the country.’
    • ‘There is, for example, a set of food dishes in the stylized shape of flying plovers, their wings glazed a deep green.’
    • ‘In fact, there are no flying insects known for almost a hundred million years after the Ludlow.’
    • ‘The only problem is the amount of flying ants about at the moment - only had to pick one out of the tagliatelle though.’
    • ‘During the post-fledging period adults will feed the flying chicks, for up to nine months in some species.’
    • ‘His name is Rocky, and he is a flying rooster from America who has escaped from a circus.’
    • ‘According to bug scientists behind the find, this is the greatest degree of wing asymmetry yet seen in any insect, bird, or other flying animal.’
    • ‘What most gardeners call thrips are the larvae of a flying insect entomologists group in the suborder Terebrantia.’
    • ‘Ever since humankind first had the capacity to wonder, the sight of a flying animal must have been astounding.’
    • ‘Since there were as yet no birds, flying insect predators were probably much more common.’
    • ‘The Olive-sided Flycatcher sits high in a treetop, darting out after a flying insect, then returns to its perch.’
    • ‘For aerodynamic reasons there is an inverse relationship between the size of a flying animal and the wing-stroke frequency needed to keep it in the air.’
    • ‘This will be the first helicopter and Vietnam-era aircraft to join our flying fleet.’
    • ‘For example, a long history of hanging webs would mean spiders have been influencing the evolution of flying insects for millions of years.’
    • ‘Swallows, swifts and nighthawks, all pursuing flying insects, fly erratically.’
    • ‘Spiders have evolved several strategies to exploit the responses of flying insects to visual signals.’
    airborne, in the air, in flight
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    1. 1.1Moving rapidly, especially through the air.
      ‘one passenger was cut by flying glass’
      • ‘The other factor niggling away at me was the fact that a year before a tourist had been killed by a flying rock the size of a bus!’
      • ‘People can be badly hurt by flying glass, it can even be life-threatening.’
      • ‘Residents said at least five civilians were also wounded by flying debris.’
      • ‘They escaped with minor injuries, thought to have been caused by flying glass.’
      • ‘She dodged the flying body and kicked Lars hard enough to crush his skull.’
      • ‘Already we have a report of one man suffering leg injuries as a result of the flying glass and other debris.’
      • ‘Up to 100 people are injured - mostly from flying glass.’
      • ‘Others dodge flying debris kicked up by fierce storm gusts.’
      • ‘Several hostages were injured by flying glass.’
      • ‘He suffered cuts from flying glass from the blast.’
      • ‘When Carroll rejoined, the track had gone off and it took a couple of tours before the flying Irishman was able to put in another quick lap.’
      • ‘The primary risks in these injuries are being caught in the machine or being struck by flying objects.’
      • ‘One person has already been injured by flying glass and had to be treated for cuts.’
      • ‘Manywere seen wearing bandages on their hands and faces after receiving cuts from the flying shards of glass.’
      • ‘The close-quarter action photography with gristle and bone is spliced with dizzy shots of flying masonry launched by ginormous trebuchets.’
      • ‘Others, including women, were punched, kicked and hit by flying bottles during the incident at the park in July last year.’
      • ‘A total of 31 soldiers were wounded, mostly by debris and flying glass.’
      • ‘A couple of people suffered minor cuts from flying glass, but it was at the end of the night so there were not many people there.’
      • ‘However, the Evening Press understands that a bystander on the pavement suffered a cut to his face caused by flying glass.’
      • ‘Many had cuts to their face from flying glass, others with broken bones, many more were suffering from shock.’
    2. 1.2Done while launching oneself at someone.
      ‘he took a flying kick at a policeman’
      • ‘He may not know a flying drop kick from a toehold, but he created the opening salvo in a soon to be exploitation standard.’
      • ‘Launching into a vicious flying kick, Buffy took the speaker down, and the battle was joined.’
      • ‘As soon as she entered the room, she launched into a vicious flying side kick.’
      • ‘I had a yellow belt in tae kwan do, but they only taught me rubbish stuff like bowing and none of the good stuff like flying kicks and how to break wood just by looking at it.’
      • ‘Mark dodged a flying kick and tripped the second guard.’
      • ‘He charged forward and hit the metal door with a flying kick.’
      • ‘I was innocently walking with my friend, when Stephen ran at me from behind, jumped up, and gave me a tremendous flying kick in the back.’
      • ‘Not wasting time, I ran at him, and leapt into a flying kick.’
      • ‘Finally he launches himself into a flying rugby tackle and vanishes from view.’
      • ‘He took a flying kick at it and struck it heavily with his boot.’
      • ‘She launched herself in a flying tackle at Ian's midriff, knocking the wind out of him and sending the two to the ground.’
      • ‘She immediately ran out of her room and took a flying leap at the intruder.’
      • ‘John won a gold medal in the flying kicks event for the under-13's.’
      • ‘Finally Billy was knocked to the mats by a flying kick.’
      • ‘At his subsequent trial for threatening language and behaviour, he attacked the prosecution counsel after being found guilty, leaping over a bench and executing a flying kick of his own.’
      • ‘Randall ducked under the flying tackle and heaved a pass 60 yards off his back foot.’
      • ‘The mugging victim was probably killed by a flying karate kick, police revealed today.’
      • ‘It was obvious from his tone that he didn't believe it, and the flying kick that followed next was a further sign.’
      • ‘I rushed at him, and leapt into a flying kick connecting with his face.’
      • ‘When he was five feet away, he jumped into a flying kick.’
    3. 1.3Hasty; brief.
      ‘a flying visit’
      • ‘Earlier this month the Duke made a flying visit to the Far East in his role as special representative for international investment and trade and is believed to have met the woman again.’
      • ‘I shall never forget that first flying visit to Dresden.’
      • ‘On Saturday, on his return from his brief and much publicised flying visit home to England, he repeated the message to a higher authority.’
      • ‘Despite her setback, Eve still enjoyed her flying visit to New York.’
      • ‘A flying visit from Graham's parents didn't help.’
      • ‘11.20 am: The surgeon makes a flying visit to the Australian Orthopoedic Association conference.’
      • ‘A Bald Eagle called Alaska swooped in on a flying visit and certainly attracted plenty of attention among the surprised shoppers on O'Connell Street.’
      • ‘This unexpected visitor began to arrive at Mary Forde's home last week and after a flying visit in and out has now decided to set up home permanently.’
      • ‘I'd been inside once before on a flying visit, and this was the first time I'd been in since when the weather was decent and the lighting made it worthwhile to take photos.’
      • ‘Aughagower Community Centre will receive one of its most popular visitors on Tuesday, December 17th when Santa makes a flying visit to the area.’
      • ‘My parents made a flying visit and I'm working lots.’
      • ‘If you don't mind putting in the leg work and feeling you could dedicate your life to wandering around it, Rome rewards pilgrims and sightseers alike - even those on a flying visit.’
      • ‘Admittedly Houllier made a flying visit to Liverpool's Melwood training ground last week to rally the troops before being sent packing for more rest by his doctors.’
      • ‘‘It was the thing that made the movie,’ admits LaBute, on a flying visit to London from the Deauville Film Festival in France.’
      • ‘Mr Geoffrey John paid a flying visit to Orkney to find out more about the county's food and drink businesses and went away ‘tremendously impressed’ by what he saw.’
      • ‘The Irish Lights vessel ‘Granuaile’ paid a flying visit to the bay earlier in the week to service the Blackrock Lighthouse.’
      • ‘Devonport Naval Base played host to Jimmy ‘the Whirlwind’ White when the snooker ace made a flying visit to Plymouth.’
      • ‘Having put her portrait skills at the disposal of 70 tourists, Una, who studied at Limerick College of Art, paid a flying visit to Killarney.’
      • ‘Matt Williams is on a flying visit to Edinburgh to sort out fine details of his new posting: meeting with finance people, marketing staff and various administrators.’
      • ‘As the water levels subsided, the Duke of York made a flying visit to the flood zone, which extended to Stamford Bridge over the border in the East Riding and beyond to Elvington, near York.’
      brief, short, whistle-stop, lightning, fleeting, hasty, rushed, hurried, quick, cursory, perfunctory
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    4. 1.4Used in names of animals that can glide by using wing-like membranes or other structures, e.g. flying squirrel.


  • [mass noun] Flight, especially in an aircraft.

    ‘she hates flying’
    • ‘None of us ever considered such flying to be unusual or hazardous, although of course it was.’
    • ‘Cardholders will get free entry to certain sports clubs and discounts on activities such as ultralight flying, diving and climbing expeditions.’
    • ‘The best place to begin winter flying is in a warm hangar with your mechanic.’
    • ‘Then, when things went sour, they saved the day with an emergency evacuation by some incredibly skillful flying.’
    • ‘Model aircraft flying is a training ground for serious pilots and the Lismore club has spawned a number of full time aviators.’
    • ‘It's no secret that one way to keep the hourly cost of flying under control is to own the airplane you fly.’
    • ‘Joe was a TWA pilot and Rick flew corporate aircraft so flying must be in the Barker family genes.’
    • ‘He loves flying; his brother is a professional pilot and Michael himself has a pilot's licence.’
    • ‘Other regulations are similar to those governing private flying in the West.’
    • ‘Its operations include recreational and commercial flying, training and instruction as well as some business travel.’
    • ‘We've been talking about specific phobias, such as the fear of flying, heights or animals.’
    • ‘Without private flying in Namibia, the supply of Namibian commercial pilots will soon dry up and stop, he said.’
    • ‘There was no flying, of course, as the ramps, runways and aircraft were also ice covered.’
    • ‘This also includes such environments as deep sea diving, solo flying, and Antarctic overwintering.’
    • ‘Advanced warnings are normally issued to the public about exercises involving low flying so people do not become alarmed at sudden aircraft noises, particularly at night.’
    • ‘There is an air field at the campus as well, started for military training and flying during World War II.’
    • ‘Flying consumes a great deal of energy, and so, we reasoned, the energy demands of flying would compete with the energy needed to fuel the immune response.’
    • ‘‘For me and for most cadets, the first challenge of the training is solo flying,’ Tu said.’
    • ‘It is an intriguing and amusing read, drawing from the lighter side of private flying in the west of Ireland in the 1960's and 1970's.’
    • ‘No display flying could be performed on the weekend due to the wet weather.’
    aviation, flying, air transport, aerial navigation, aeronautics
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  • go flying

    • informal Fall or be knocked over.

      ‘Rob tripped over a branch and went flying’
      • ‘The teacup went flying, it was shattered, and one of the pieces cut Lindsay in her shin.’
      • ‘Someone went flying through the wooden railings at one point, into the motorcycle parked by the rink.’
      • ‘I just put my foot down and went straight through the barricade, bins went flying everywhere.’
      • ‘Faith's apple went flying in the air as she was knocked over, and she had to make a mad grab to catch it before it fell.’
      • ‘In one rehearsal, one of the women's sticks broke in two as she kicked it and half of it went flying off into the wings.’
      • ‘Next thing, a wee guy whizzes past me, hits something and goes flying.’
      • ‘Buckets of water went flying, other players waded in for retribution.’
      • ‘I jumped back, he threw me, and I went flying on top of the stand of hi-fis.’
      • ‘We went flying across the pavement and crashed straight through the front of a couple's house, ending up in their living room.’
      • ‘She went flying off the bar stool and landed unconscious on the floor amid broken glass and tables.’
      • ‘Kenny knocked the wind out of Sophie; she went flying back into a wall, crumbling it.’
  • with flying colours

    • With distinction.

      ‘Sylvia had passed her exams with flying colours’
      • ‘He took the exam, came out with flying colours and joined the service in 1991.’
      • ‘In 1911, at his father's insistence, he sat the diplomatic service exams, passing with flying colours.’
      • ‘Is it success to pass a graduation exam with flying colors only to forget the whole thing in 2-3 years' time?’
      • ‘I'm sure she'll navigate the negative backlash with flying colors.’
      • ‘Every single one of you passed your final exam with flying colors.’
      • ‘After seven days on flat roads this was a sudden and violent examination of heart as much as stamina and it was a test that Lance Armstrong would pass with flying colours.’
      • ‘On the basis that there are few better guides to a restaurant's quality than how it cooks its steaks, the Howgate passed with flying colours.’
      • ‘Michael told me that he was sure I would pass all my exams with flying colors.’
      • ‘If that's the biggest criticism a dedicated nit-picker can deliver, then the restaurant has passed with flying colours.’
      • ‘They had some big decisions to make this year, and came through with flying colors.’