Definition of wing in English:



  • 1(in a bird) a modified forelimb that bears large feathers and is used for flying.

    • ‘The birds, whose wings are clipped to prevent them flying away, have been moved to aviaries in one of the royal palace's towers.’
    • ‘Anhimids are strong, soaring flyers with the big wings and substantial feathers necessary for that lifestyle.’
    • ‘Rusty Blackbirds are fairly slender birds with long wings and tails.’
    • ‘Besides having forelimbs that resemble the wings of modern birds, the animal sported long feathers from thigh to foot on each hind limb.’
    • ‘Here, one of the birds spreads its wings to let its plumage dry in the sun, an attitude which is highly characteristic of cormorants and their relatives.’
    • ‘Each downstroke of the wing of birds produces a small upward acceleration of the body to support the weight of the body and overcome drag.’
    • ‘The belly is white, and the white spots on the wings give this bird its name.’
    • ‘The term ‘silver falcon’ actually refers to a bird of prey with silver feathers underneath the wing.’
    • ‘So she sent her magic into the bird and concentrated it on the broken wing and felt the bone re-knitting.’
    • ‘In fact, it reminded me of a pintail duck in the way its primaries, the ten outermost feathers of the wing, seemed to do all the flying.’
    • ‘The male's body plumage is glossy black, and the wings and tail feathers are white.’
    • ‘The birds' wings are blue and their tails a rainbow of yellow, red, and blue.’
    • ‘A bird needs wings for lift, tail feathers for control and lightweight bones.’
    • ‘In medieval Europe, scribes used trimmed feathers from the wings of large birds and various inks to mark a set of alphabetic letters on parchment skins.’
    • ‘Swans are caught and their wings' flight feathers are clipped, or pinioned.’
    • ‘Rather than stones, organic objects like birds wings, bones, crayfish and seeds, are suspended several inches above a mud pathway.’
    • ‘Thrashing the water with opened wings, the bird repeatedly disappeared completely underwater.’
    • ‘Very graceful it was too, like a blue bird of prey but without feathers or wings or talons or any other bird features, come to think of it.’
    • ‘They are fairly slender birds, with long wings and tails.’
    • ‘The feathers on their wings and tails are bright blue with white and black bands.’
    pinion, van
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    1. 1.1 (in a bat or pterosaur) a modified forelimb with skin stretched between or behind the fingers.
      • ‘Sheathing my sword I called upon my powers and a pair of dragon wings came from my back and I flew out of the way just in time.’
      • ‘Mischief glared at the dragon as it stretched its wings.’
      • ‘His giant dragon wings were stretched out fully in anger.’
      • ‘Bats rustled their wings above him, restless as the evening turned to night and the time to fly in search of food approached.’
      • ‘It mimics birds, bats or pterodactyls of the dinosaur era, and has membranous wings.’
      • ‘The wings are blue and resemble batlike wings, thin, blue membrane supported by fingers ending in black claws.’
      • ‘The wing membrane gave way like brittle parchment paper and the monster roared in agony.’
      • ‘There were carved creatures with canine bodies and bat wings perched around the steeply pointed roof lined with jagged spikes.’
      • ‘Birds have feathers, which are unfeeling structures, whereas the pterosaur's wings were made entirely out of skin.’
      • ‘The end result of the moult produced a dragon with powerful wings and the ability to shoot steaming jets of molten flame from its mouth.’
      • ‘Other bats catch insects in the air, some in open spaces, others in dense vegetation, often using the wing or tail membrane as a scoop.’
      • ‘Megachiropterans have a claw on the second finger of the wing.’
      • ‘The Dragon was roughly humanoid, jet black, and over eight feet tall, with large leathery wings folded behind his back.’
      • ‘Gasping, Claven threw off his cloak, revealing a pair of black dragon wings and took off after Kyra.’
      • ‘The dragon immediately stood, stretching its wings majestically and soared into the dark sky like a black shadow chasing a flame.’
      • ‘Pulling himself upright, Raidan wrapped his membranous wings around himself, hugging the warmth close.’
      • ‘They need to be able to process the complex information that they get from echolocation, and they need to be able to control their membranous wings.’
    2. 1.2 (in most insects) each of two or four flat extensions of the thoracic cuticle, either transparent or covered in scales.
      • ‘Night fell upon them, and the nightbugs flew from the trees of Nightforest with their phosphorescent bodies, and lacy wings.’
      • ‘Uniquely, a butterfly's outer body is covered by tiny sensory hairs and the wings are covered by scales.’
      • ‘What the swallow sees makes it scream and dive: soft insects, in delicate courtship, fanning transparent wings over thin feelers and long legs.’
      • ‘Vertebrate and insect wings are not homologous but have some superficial similarities; they have similar functions yet are very different in structure.’
      • ‘For instance, I remember well, I was taught that insects without wings evolved into insects with wings.’
      • ‘An instructive example of this problem was reported in an important paper on the evolution of insect wings.’
      • ‘Almost 40 years ago Ed Lewis discovered a remarkable fly that differs from an ordinary fly by one extra pair of wings.’
      • ‘It began hopping in my direction, both pairs of wings alternately moving up and down.’
      • ‘The Australian Bower Bird decorates his nest with colorful pebbles, bits of glass, and insect wings.’
      • ‘The flexural stiffness of insect wings varies quite strongly with wing size and even within an individual wing itself.’
      • ‘The wings of these tiny insects are simple hair-fringed struts.’
      • ‘However, ingenious experiments have now shown unexpected patterns of vortex flow along the edges of insect wings.’
      • ‘The nightbugs with their lacy wings and glowing segmented bodies circled around the Deity, and rested on the plants growing from its body.’
      • ‘The insect's wings have properties to reflect light that scientists hope can be adapted to camouflage tanks and aircraft.’
      • ‘Her ears were filled with the whirr of insect wings, the growling of lions, the hiss and rattle of hot stones baking in the relentless Sun, the crunch of sand and parched Earth under her foot.’
      • ‘Of the genes cited as similar in insect wings and crustacean epipods, only the expression of nub is restricted to the future wing region of the wing disc.’
      • ‘The male scorpion fly possesses what is called a notal organ, a clamp behind its wings.’
      • ‘Among the tissues preserved in the paper shales are delicate feathers, flower parts, hair, insect wings, and scales.’
      • ‘We take lives, however small, only when there is a legitimate scientific reason to do so, and nobody we know plucks wings off insects.’
      • ‘Consequently, pest control agencies are scrambling aeroplanes and ground forces in a bid to kill the insects before their wings grow.’
    3. 1.3 The wing of a bird as food.
      • ‘BP's finesse in serving wings the way you like 'em has been proven in these pages before.’
      • ‘Many of my classmates still consider the chicken wings the best they have ever eaten, even after many years and visits to large numbers of good restaurants.’
      • ‘You see, that's because my favourite part of the wing is the skin.’
      • ‘They're like the crispy end of a chicken wing you get at a roadhouse.’
      • ‘They think a waffle needs a chicken wing the way a fish needs galoshes.’
      • ‘The meat of the wing is shinnied down the main bone and wrapped with the skin around one end.’
      • ‘Remember, when wing bones come up, you can also make a wish.’
      • ‘But that can't be, because the other wing is filled with meat.’
    4. 1.4usually wings Used with reference to ease and swiftness of movement.
      ‘the thought gave wings to her feet’
      • ‘Her growling stomach gave her feet wings as Vareena chuckled softly and walked through the nearest door on her right.’
      • ‘Terror gave her feet wings, and she outdistanced them despite their longer legs.’
      • ‘Good Vibrations took music production to a new level, and Brian Wilson's work soared above us on wings of genius.’
      • ‘I don't know how the future will take us, how we will fly on the wings and winds of fate and fortune.’
  • 2A rigid horizontal structure that projects from both sides of an aircraft and supports it in the air.

    • ‘Eyewitnesses reported seeing a small explosion above one of the plane's wings suggesting that decoy flares had been fired.’
    • ‘The engine has twin side mounted air intakes on either side of the fuselage under the wing.’
    • ‘Pilots are being advised to touch their planes' wings before takeoff.’
    • ‘As part of the Red Army, we had large red crosses painted in washable water color on the fuselages and wings of our aircraft.’
    • ‘The gigantic wings for this plane are built by British Aerospace in north Wales.’
    • ‘The wings are like any other plane's wings, reinforced like the rest of the ship for atmospheric entry.’
    • ‘It looked to be a Boeing - 747 with the normal engines underneath both wings of the plane.’
    • ‘Each wing has a single aileron surface on the trailing edge to control roll and two flaps to control lift and drag.’
    • ‘Most of the planes have high wings, and often the pilots will let you pop open the window to get clean photos if they know you're a serious shooter.’
    • ‘It was as if the plane was dipping its wings in greeting to the 1.25 million people assembled below.’
    • ‘The wings of all Airbus planes are manufactured in Britain, the tails in Spain, and fuselages in France and Germany.’
    • ‘Also, the lift builds gradually and the weight of the aircraft shifts relatively slowly from the landing gear to the wing.’
    • ‘It had wings like the wings of a plane but flew at only 200 yards above the ground and never got any higher.’
    • ‘When the T-Bird came in low, the two men shouted with joy when they saw the pilot rock his wings to show he had seen them.’
    • ‘This plane has curved wings, a series of ‘winglets’ to increase lift, a weighted nose and specially folded wing tips to reduce drag.’
    • ‘Bombardier Roy Brown's daughter Judy Valentini inspects the wrecked wing of an aircraft during the visit to Horn Island.’
    • ‘The single-seat research aircraft had a monocoque aluminum fuselage with a wood wing.’
    • ‘These are the de-icing boots on the leading edges of the wings, horizontal and vertical stabilizers.’
    • ‘Still painfully wounded, he helped the tail gunner out to the wing of the aircraft so the other crewmembers could help them onto a waiting boat.’
    • ‘The deal is a boost to Britain's aerospace industry as BAE Systems will build the wings of the planes, which will be delivered in 2006.’
    1. 2.1wings A pilot's certificate of ability to fly a plane, indicated by a badge representing a pair of wings.
      ‘Michael earned his wings as a commercial pilot’
      • ‘After entering the U.S. Air Force, Aldrin earned his pilot wings in 1952.’
      • ‘Last month my son Ted won his wings at Randolph Field.’
      • ‘Australian Airborne Battle Group wings take on a special flavour when matched with the Malaysian uniform.’
      • ‘You get the occasional guy who fails just before wings or at wings and it's a bit of a shame because they're so close.’
      • ‘Each pilot's name was embroidered above their wings on the left chest.’
      • ‘Although he is some way off getting his pilot's wings, Jamie has already set his sights on being a fighter pilot.’
      • ‘He was awarded his pilot's wings in 1993 and joined the Hercules fleet in 1995.’
      • ‘A council estate in York can lay claim to its very own Top Gun, as one of its sons gets set to join a parade of graduate pilots to receive their wings.’
      • ‘He gained his wings as a sergeant pilot a year later and was commissioned in 1944.’
      • ‘Mr Thomas, who was a pilot in World War II, visited the base to be presented with new Royal Australian Air Force wings.’
  • 3British A raised part of the body of a car or other vehicle above the wheel.

    • ‘I already had a commercial driver's license and a motorcycle endorsement, so if it has wings or wheels, I can handle it.’
    • ‘The lines flow naturally from the sweeping wheel-arches and wings, down through the doors to taper sharply at the back.’
    • ‘A rear wing and integrated rear diffuser have also been developed as part of a new rear end panel.’
    • ‘New alloy wheels, a rear wing and unique detailing set this car apart.’
    • ‘T1 will see readily identifiable versions of everyday saloon cars visually spectacularly modified with big flared wheel arches, wings and bumpers.’
    • ‘The engine has a low centre of gravity, the wing is like a banquet table and its height, at 1050 mm, is only an inch taller than a GT40.’
    • ‘The rear wing has been repositioned to balance the effects.’
    • ‘The finishing touch is the rear wing, and all these parts can either be left in black carbon or painted to match the bodywork.’
    • ‘‘Next time we're out we should get another one of these,’ Michael said as he ran his hands along the buckled driver's side wing of the van.’
    • ‘Time was when lights tucked away in the front wings were a sign of sophistication and cool, but with the passing of the Corvette and the Lotus Esprit no car has them any more.’
    • ‘Automotive Industries recently was shown a more potent Stratus, stripped of its chrome accents but also devoid of any wings or air dams.’
    • ‘The right outboard spoilers were raised approximately 1 to 3 inches above the wing surface.’
    • ‘Drawn by a former Aston Martin design chief, the rear wings and roofline are the best bit, with hints of the current Aston range.’
    • ‘As with the Plus 8, the rear-view mirror stuck in the middle of the windscreen causes an awkward blind spot, which combined with the wiper makes it difficult to see the nearside wing.’
    • ‘He came out on Saturday morning to find his car parked on the pavement, with wonky looking wheels, and well sculpted driver's side doors and wing.’
    • ‘When you go to a rookie test with a brand new driver, what you do is you raise the wings up so that they are providing more downforce.’
    • ‘It had a broken rear window and damage to the near side front wing, probably several hundreds of pounds worth of damage.’
    • ‘Body kits, spoilers, wings, decals, bumpers and other accessories are commonly used to customize a car.’
    • ‘The car had independent front suspension and featured spare wheel compartments in the front wings.’
  • 4A part of a large building, especially one that projects from the main part.

    ‘a maternity wing’
    • ‘Between the two wings of the PFA building by Tadao Ando is a reflecting pool, perceived as longer than it really is because it is so narrow.’
    • ‘When the elevator doors next opened, it was to a corridor identical to the one Elvis and Lucifel had left behind in the east wing of dormitories.’
    • ‘Once the institute has grown to its full capacity, the north wing of the building will house 80 resident researchers from around the world.’
    • ‘On the contrary, the main wing of Merrill Hall was burned, including some classrooms and laboratories.’
    • ‘I do not deny she was disturbed, and her wish to end up on a secure wing was enough to raise awareness, but when she set fire to the female corridor she was seen as nothing but a troublemaker.’
    • ‘The Science Museum is planning to display a decomposing body in its adults-only wing.’
    • ‘She also did a night shift on one of the wings and had to raise the alarm after a prisoner tried to harm herself.’
    • ‘To the east is the administration wing with the main entrance, reception and offices.’
    • ‘The first floor of the main wing of the building was destroyed and it was believed a chimney at the back of the building may have been left unstable.’
    • ‘The Zoology Department was located on the west wing of the main building of the Science Faculty.’
    • ‘The Sanctuary's dueling grounds was found at the end of the north wing of the main chamber.’
    • ‘In summer the blinds are closed to cut solar input while the large roof vents are opened to provide a thermal chimneys, cool air being sucked in through the crawl space of the north wing.’
    • ‘Two new elevators were installed to provide access to the two wings of the building.’
    • ‘The boardwalk guides visitors past another guest cottage and the bedroom wing of the main house.’
    • ‘To each side of the main hall, the two wings of the plan contain the living room and bedroom number one to the left and the dining room and service rooms to the right.’
    • ‘No wonder the girls were afraid of sleeping on the level above the hospital wing.’
    • ‘The bedrooms are off a separate wing behind the reception rooms.’
    • ‘The plan of the house has been developed to make a two and three storey L-shaped building with an attenuated wing extending back to the ravine.’
    • ‘Along the sixth and seventh floors of the western wing, a glazed corridor extends south beyond the building's edge.’
    • ‘The long thin office wings enclose two hermetic internal courtyards or patios.’
    part, section, side
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  • 5A group within a political party or other organization having particular views or a particular function.

    ‘a candidate from the liberal wing of the party’
    • ‘Brokers estimate the cost of that ambition will be about $850m even if Chiquita's food processing wing is sold on after completion of the deal.’
    • ‘Does the Minorities Commission - a constitutional body and not a wing of government - not recognise crimes of omission as crimes?’
    • ‘She was also the editor of a prominent, albeit student publication, and a prominent member of the youth wing of a political party.’
    • ‘This passage of events highlights the real problem in the current relationship between the political and industrial wings of the Party.’
    • ‘Among the many letters of support the library received after the bombing was an apology from Sinn Féin, the political wing of the IRA.’
    • ‘It is noteworthy that the New York Times, mouthpiece of the liberal wing of the political establishment, was far less restrained in its reaction.’
    • ‘Ms Reid was a one time member of the Official Republicans movement and later joined Irish Republican Socialist Party, the political wing of the INLA.’
    • ‘There are two main wings within the Tory Party and regardless of who wins the election contest the battle between them will continue.’
    • ‘The former First Lady and current US senator from New York is widely seen as the most prominent standard bearer of what passes for a liberal wing of the Democratic Party.’
    • ‘So the argument over free trade versus protectionism was debated in parliament by people directly representing different wings of the ruling class.’
    • ‘Social democrats from the New Democratic Party consistently opposed the state's development strategy, as did a wing of the Liberal Party.’
    • ‘The strongest party was the political wing of the famous Solidarity trade union which was so important in the fall of European communism.’
    • ‘They have been given a combined total of £16,000 from the body - a charity wing of the American newspaper giant, which is the parent company of the Evening Press.’
    • ‘The Labor Party is the political wing of the trade union movement.’
    • ‘Batasuna is the political wing of the ETA armed group.’
    • ‘He demanded to know if Sinn Fein's leadership was hiding behind its youth wing and if not, was it out of control.’
    • ‘Will the Republican party be the political wing of the evangelical movement again in 2008?’
    • ‘The appointment is widely seen as part of a political deal between contending wings of the ruling Peronist Party.’
    • ‘Even more money went to two outfits that function as foreign policy wings of the Democratic and Republican parties.’
    • ‘Rather, the IRA was increasingly recognized as the armed wing of one political party.’
    faction, camp, caucus, arm, side, branch, group, grouping, section, set, clique, coterie, cabal
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  • 6the wingsThe sides of a theatre stage out of view of the audience.

    • ‘As Omara is helped onto the stage from the wings, her physical frailty is immediately evident.’
    • ‘As Barford points out, the only places where you would get a guaranteed good view is from the wings - or if you are playing John the Baptist.’
    • ‘After it has had two run-throughs, we meet Slava in the wings, ready to call our dancers.’
    • ‘Far below, a young woman of about 17 stood by the wings of the stage, listening to Angela sing.’
    • ‘He'd peered back at them from the wings of the stage as he exited.’
    • ‘Suddenly, who should walk on to the stage through the wings, but Mamta!’
    • ‘The theatre goes black, and the red curtains part, and go back towards the wings as the stage lights go up to reveal the lobby of a small hotel.’
    • ‘He and Clarence were free to use the entire stage back to the wings.’
    • ‘Stephano, another servant to the King, enters the stage from the wings carrying a bottle.’
    • ‘She stood in the wings alone, getting ready, but missed the moment altogether and did not appear.’
    • ‘Eve watches Margot from the wings of the stage, and Margot bows to the applause of her audience.’
    • ‘A couple of other band members were hidden in the wings ready to help out if James was unable to complete the hymn.’
    • ‘He didn't go on stage, though, but sang from the wings while Beesley mimed onstage.’
    • ‘Hedges, like the wings on a stage can make a false end to a garden, thus disguising the real boundary.’
    • ‘She bustled out of the bathroom and headed towards the wings of the stage, where the rest of the choir was waiting.’
    • ‘As he continued to stare at it, he noticed walking from the wings of the stage a giant figure of a man.’
    • ‘They were standing in the wings of the stage, warmed up and ready to go on.’
    • ‘I had also heard that musical theatre stars only come alive when on stage so I tried to be as dead and grumpy as I could in the wings as I waited to go.’
    • ‘He got up from the wings of the stage and walked down the steps that would lead behind the small stage to where the actors took off their makeup.’
    • ‘As for Rachel, her friends had sneaked into the wings of the stage to see her perform with the quartet and sing her solo.’
  • 7(in soccer, rugby, and hockey) the part of the field close to the sidelines.

    • ‘Bryant will play from the wing rather than the point, which will decrease his ballhandling duties and increase his scoring chances.’
    • ‘If anything, scoring prospects were needed on the wings and on defense.’
    • ‘With Percy Montgomery at fullback and Fourie and De Villiers on the wings, the Boks don't lack for height at the back.’
    • ‘Anxious to record their first league win since 29 September, Manchester switched Afi Leuaia to the wing and brought Piers Gregory into play at centre.’
    • ‘The offense will also need to find somebody besides Modin, who led the team with 32 goals, to score from the wing.’
    • ‘On a break, he dribbled up the wing, tossed an underhand scoop towards the rim, took two steps, launched and then jammed it home with authority.’
    • ‘Thornton causes matchup problems because he is a dangerous shooter from the wing and can beat defenders off the dribble.’
    • ‘Saints are set to switch Darren Albert from the wing to full-back to offset the absence of Paul Wellens, but Millward also has the option of Anthony Stewart and Sean Hoppe.’
    • ‘Ruggiero and Houlston on the wings were effective at getting beyond their full backs but Sherburn were well organised in their defending to prevent Ilkley from scoring.’
    • ‘Habana did what he does best and streaked up the wing without anyone coming close.’
    • ‘He can create scoring chances from the wing or down low.’
    • ‘Wayne Munn, who has seen provincial action at wing, centre and fullback is now being groomed at scrumhalf while Fiela van Zyl moves to the side of the scrum, making way for Harold Karele.’
    • ‘Nick Barber came onto the wing replacing the centre Smith.’
    • ‘With the clock running down to half time Stewart Airdrie broke down the wing and crossed for Chris Turner to head home from close range.’
    • ‘El Hamdaoui has variously been described as a striker and capable of playing on both wings, in other words jack-of-all-trades, master of none.’
    • ‘Memphis' best defenders are on the wings, and only one of them - Posey - is projected to start.’
    • ‘But for all its talent, the Avalanche lacks scoring on the wings and badly needs Hejduk to bounce back.’
    • ‘The most intriguing change is the shift of Jason Robinson from full back or wing to centre.’
    • ‘Robert Vaden and James Hardy, who committed in the spring, will give the Hoosiers athleticism and scoring punch from the wings.’
    • ‘The coach is likely to switch full back Chris Beaver to the wing in place of Smith and return Chris Wainwright to the starting line-up after leaving him out against Rochdale.’
    1. 7.1 An attacking player positioned near to one of the sidelines.
      • ‘The move seemed to be punished when wing forward, Eoin Curtin, sent over his side's second point in two minutes.’
      • ‘As we approach the League final, the famous shout for joy from the wing forward on that day in 1980, when the Rangers beat Renard, is doing the rounds again.’
      • ‘When wing forward Tom Lennon boxed an Andrew Hickey delivery past Chris Meaney it rocked the Leighlin men back on their heels.’
      • ‘Umaga believes he is becoming more aware of the centre's responsibilities after starting the season still playing like a wing.’
      • ‘The killer blow arrived when Jonathon Roker who was having a fine game at wing forward scored 2 goals in quick succession to give Raheens an 8 point lead.’
      • ‘‘If we can create space for our wings starting with our pack and centres, we will score tries,’ he said.’
      • ‘Railway were awarded a penalty on the five metres line which was taken quickly and Port were caught as the wing forward crashed over.’
      • ‘Mick McEvoy was the best Laois defender on view as he held Paul Flynn scoreless from play but the wing forward did finish with eight points from placed balls.’
      • ‘He also may be the most versatile player - he lines up as a fullback, a receiver or a wing.’
      • ‘The Heath then suffered a severe blow when wing forward Ciaran Hyland was sidelined after a rash challenge.’
      • ‘His first tackle on Shane Williams was a lift and then a spin before he dumped him on the floor, using his own body weight and momentum to deck the Welsh wing.’
      • ‘For Brumbies, tries went to centre Gordon Ephriam and wing Wayne Pharo with fullback Rodney McDonald slotting three penalties.’
      • ‘The big wing forward was to convert two further frees in the opening quarter while Seamus Lyons landed his first score after a foul on David Cuddy.’
      • ‘‘He's going to be a wing forward,’ jokes his grandfather, as a barefoot Finlay charges into his sister at speed.’
      • ‘Boroughmuir, for their part, took the field without their top-scoring wing Charlie Keenan and their flanker Olly Brown.’
      • ‘Although he has been used mainly as a wing forward up to now, he's chosen at full forward for tomorrow's match.’
      • ‘Thomas Walsh, at both full-forward and wing forward, got on a lot of ball and used a good deal of it very well, as is evidenced by his 1-4 from play.’
      • ‘As Rathnew keeper Ken Quirke raced out to close down Mernagh the wing forward fisted a pass to Gill and with only a defender on the line the full forward blasted over the bar.’
      • ‘If a dribbler gets through on a sideline past your near wing, approach cautiously and anticipate a pass.’
      • ‘In the Scotland team is a 21-year-old wing forward at the height of his game.’
  • 8Anatomy
    A lateral part or projection of an organ or structure.

    • ‘Flared iliac wings and shallow acetabulae are present along with coxa valga and flaring of the femoral metaphyses.’
    • ‘The neat, putty-coloured ribbing of the pectoral muscles forms two perfect wings over the ribcage.’
    • ‘If the patient is able to stand erect, the examiner can estimate the height symmetry of the iliac crests by resting his or her hands on the iliac wings.’
    • ‘The posterior aspect of the lateral pterygoid plate may be joined to the angular spine of the greater wing by a pterygopetrosal ligament that may calcify.’
    • ‘This branch enters the skull through the superior orbital fissure or a small foramen in the greater wing of the sphenoid to anastomose with the ophthalmic artery.’
    1. 8.1Botany A thin membranous appendage of a fruit or seed that is dispersed by the wind.
      • ‘Once you have picked the seeds and removed the wing just place them in a paper bag and store them in a cool dry place until you are ready for them.’
      • ‘The nuts have no seed wings, with which to travel, and are not viable if they simply drop to the ground.’
      • ‘Water is then applied to the seeds to remove the wing from the seed.’
  • 9An air force unit of several squadrons or groups.

    • ‘The wing had one mission-ready squadron and was working on building its second when Sept.11 events changed things.’
    • ‘It is about serving the people in the squadron command and wing.’
    • ‘It comprises five wings and 31 squadrons, and is headquartered at Amberley.’
    • ‘He also served with the Royal Jordanian Airforce anti-tank wing where he received his wings as a Cobra attack pilot.’
    • ‘Moving an Air Force combat wing is nothing like moving an Army brigade.’
    • ‘He has commanded a fighter squadron, two fighter wings, and a numbered air force.’
    • ‘It's the first blended wing in Air Force history, and they've made it happen without a blueprint or road map.’
    • ‘It was intended that Air Force wings should train as they fight.’
    • ‘CAG helicopter representatives routinely are tasked with augmenting the squadrons in the air wing.’
    • ‘America's precision munitions compensate to a degree for fewer ground units and air wings, no question about that.’
    • ‘I recognized the voice and knew immediately that it was the skipper of a Hornet squadron in my air wing.’
    • ‘We have no combat air wing, and our air force has broken down.’
    • ‘They filed a safety hazard report that was immediately forwarded to our higher headquarters and to the Air Force wing based here.’
    • ‘It is the second and last F - 16 wing in the air force.’
    • ‘It will help squadron commanders at the wing level determine the most important decisions in establishing the correct readiness focus.’
    • ‘The wing commander is responsible for all of his or her wing's squadrons in the recovery and individual and unit training phases.’
    • ‘He has commanded a fighter squadron, two fighter wings, a numbered Air Force and two major commands.’
    • ‘Twelve fighter craft made up one squadron, and there were six squadrons in a wing.’
    • ‘In July 1945 he resigned in protest against the proposed disbandment of the joint Chinese - American wing of the Chinese Air Force.’
    • ‘Campbell, contact all of the COs of all of the other brigades, wings, regiments, and divisions.’
    1. 9.1 The right or left flank of the main body of a battle formation.
      • ‘After the victory at Smolensk, Hitler reverted to his old concept of concentrating the main effort on the wings.’
      • ‘This was swiftly followed by cavalry actions on both wings, each army's right being victorious and pursuing the enemy from the field.’
      • ‘In the centre, the Persians forced the Greeks back, but were then probably taken in both flanks when the victorious Greek wings wheeled inwards.’
  • 10rare A flock of plovers (birds)

    ‘some sportsmen make no scruple about firing into the thick of a wing of plover’
    • ‘As soon as "a wing of Plover" is sighted in the air, the man sets his decoy-birds in motion.’


  • 1no object, with adverbial of direction Travel on wings or by aircraft; fly.

    ‘George satisfied his keen urge to fly by winging homewards with the Royal Air Force’
    • ‘Another panther cried out in response to the first, and it echoed through the forest, sending birds winging into the star-studded sky.’
    • ‘They noticed the AA, smoke and shell fire, but it wasn't until a VaI winged over and flashed his meatball that Patriarca knew something was very wrong.’
    • ‘The most common shorebirds were American Oystercatcher and Willet in dapper summer plumage, but at least one Killdeer also winged by.’
    • ‘I know it may shock you to know I haven't led a blameless life, that my past is not a blissful stroll in the park on a sunny day with bluebirds winging in a cloudless sky.’
    • ‘Too soon, I was winging back toward SFO, business class this time, warmed by the glow of free liquor and the great memories of the tour.’
    • ‘The quiet was shattered again as two RAF jets came winging across, not so low as to shake the ground, but loud enough to bring any conversation to a halt for a while.’
    • ‘Jesse Jackson could not restrain himself from winging to Santa Maria.’
    • ‘A hefty Pallas's gull, may cast a glacial eye at them, winging slowly past, its intentions piratical.’
    • ‘A wader winged away and a rabbit nearly got trodden on as it sheltered under a branch of heather.’
    • ‘Black Vultures crashed and whistled through the trees, and a pair of Wood Ducks winged silently overhead.’
    • ‘Deciding to investigate further the dragon winged over towards the spot.’
    • ‘He leveled out just fine, winging toward the battleships.’
    • ‘A bird the color of rye bread chirped as it winged by and out into the distance until it became a mere dot in the sky.’
    • ‘Sports fans are like some new species of migratory bird, season after season winging across the world to some far-flung field to unfurl the flag and imbibe the beer.’
    • ‘A mated pair of mallards came first, winging around till they finally landed in the skinny stretch of water I'd opened.’
    • ‘You can select the right constriction for game flushing at your feet or birds winging along at 40 yards.’
    • ‘This is a travel edition of News By The Numbers, as I wing into Chicago for the Thanksgiving week.’
    fly, glide, soar
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Move, travel, or be sent quickly, as if flying.
      ‘the prize will be winging its way to you soon’
      • ‘If you ask me, the question should be turned round and sent, nemesis like, winging in the opposite direction.’
      • ‘The Christmas Cards featuring Faha Church are now available from Nellie Casey and it is hoped that families will buy lots and send them winging their way around the world.’
      • ‘Like, this evening, we were watching a bit of TV when a commercial for the latest volume of Barbra Streisand Greatest Hits had the velvet voice winging through the speakers.’
      • ‘No, I went home for a while and then found myself about three months later winging back to Broadway again.’
      • ‘He was speaking in a curious accent and so fast that the words were winging over my head like a flock of supersonic pheasants above a drunken shooter.’
      • ‘I was playing the radio in the background this morning when Melanie Safka's Look what they done to my song, Ma came winging out of the speakers.’
      • ‘It's a bit like a car, gathering speed, and just winging out of control, starting to slalom on the ice until it explodes.’
      • ‘Mr Blair himself was taking a personal interest: the Prime Minister's closest aides were copied in to all the memos and documents winging around Whitehall.’
      • ‘Yeah, a 30/30 shell winging past a guy's ear will do that.’
      • ‘The words of his publishers come winging back: ‘He might sound a bit gruff if he's not expecting you, but Harry's lovely.’’
      • ‘A poorly cleared ball fell just outside the box where the waiting Hasney Aljofree simply clattered it on the drop and it winged home.’
      • ‘While consultation documents on wheelchair strategy have winged back and forth, the creeping paralysis of the National Health Service has gone unabated.’
      • ‘They resented the invasion of their town and spoke contemptuously of the culture vultures who winged in from London, jumping the taxi queues and packing out restaurants.’
      • ‘I was on the tube this morning, winging (well, crawling) my way around the circle line towards High Street Kensington.’
      • ‘The madcap machines from blockbuster film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang are winging and trundling their way to Bradford.’
      • ‘At present the boxes are winging their way to countries such as Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho.’
      • ‘A turnover from James Dalton, back in the thick of things after a long spell out in the cold, sent Dean Hall winging down the left touchline.’
      • ‘Today I find myself in the loop for some desperate emails winging between California and Illinois about fire retardant materials and meetings with the Los Angeles Fire Chief.’
      • ‘Freely on offer at 4/1 before the off Rockstown Lad made a nonsense of those odds as he winged out of trap five leaving his rivals floundering in his wake.’
      • ‘It would appear that text messages had been winging back and forth across the Atlantic and Weggie was under orders to, ‘Give him a big kiss on the lips from me.’’
      • ‘And the next, you're an evacuee winging across the country to Somewhere, USA.’
      hurtle, speed, shoot, whizz, zoom, streak, sweep, fly, race
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2with object and adverbial of direction Send or convey (something) quickly, as if by air.
      ‘just jot down the title on a postcard and wing it to us’
      • ‘I've lost my copy (only had it on minidisc) so if anyone out there has this track then wing us one will you.’
    3. 1.3archaic with object Enable (someone or something) to fly or move rapidly.
      ‘the convent was at some distance, but fear would wing her steps’
      • ‘Remember the way the puff of a particular cigarette winged us instantly to that idyll of ‘Marlboro Country.’’
      • ‘Horatio, who wants a happier ending for Hamlet than silence, chimes in with a denial of it which gives way to a chorus of singing angels winging Hamlet to heaven.’
  • 2with object Shoot (a bird) in the wing, so as to prevent flight without causing death.

    ‘one bird was winged for every bird killed’
    • ‘The Steps have built an aviary of sorts and have been trying to stock it with any wild birds they can wing with their air rifles.’
    1. 2.1 Wound (someone) superficially, especially in the arm or shoulder.
      • ‘Chancellor Schroeder is badly winged now and facing a well nigh impossible task to get re-elected.’
      • ‘Rod winged another in the leg and he fell to a kneeling position still firing.’
      • ‘The act of twisting around made her shot aimed at Hydrogen Guy go wild, winging Ulysses J. Kramer's monument.’
      • ‘Before she could be felled or winged by any stray shots, he crept forward to grab her arm and pull her to safety.’
      • ‘In a split second Jerome, whose anger had begun to build, flashed out his gun and fired, but Selby dropped to one knee and fired his gun, winging him.’
      • ‘Oh, sure, you all have seen me wing a couple of people, but I hope that it was only after they'd repeatedly attacked me.’
      • ‘So whoever was trying to get at Jiang through Jia seems to have only winged the president.’
      • ‘They could well have calculated that winging Chen was the best way of unleashing a sympathy vote for the Green cause that would yield them an avalanche of cash in lost wagers.’
      • ‘One of them managed to get in a lucky shot, winging Renzu in the left arm.’
      • ‘Two missiles flew out from Nymph's hull and crashed into the oncoming Wraiths, the first had been shattered into pieces while the other had merely been winged.’
      • ‘Whatever that result, he does return to Downing Street still permanently winged by Iraq.’
      • ‘In mid-air, I turn and squeeze off three shots, winging him.’
      • ‘He did some shooting at Gardener in yard but only winged him because Mr Big Star is drinking too much.’
      wound, graze, hit, clip
      View synonyms
  • 3wing itinformal Speak or act without preparation; improvise.

    ‘a little preparation puts you ahead of the job-seekers who try to wing it’
    • ‘Paul Bigley can be forgiven his clumsiness: he's a freelancer winging it.’
    • ‘Most of my cooking, which is pretty damn good, I must say - is done by winging it.’
    • ‘We can't afford a new pool this year, so we're winging it with this one.’
    • ‘Geminis thrive on the exhilaration of playing different personas - winging it, getting inventive and improvising.’
    • ‘Clinton was winging it, carried high on Reagan's excellent economic foresight and results.’
    • ‘It's called winging it and hoping everything comes out okay in the end.’
    • ‘You're winging it, just trying to be true to your feelings.’
    • ‘We're spending about one per cent of the money previous teams have so we're winging it a bit, but hopefully we will get away with it.’
    • ‘It was chaos for the first few days, no one had any experience in this type of thing, we were just winging it.’
    • ‘On the other hand, he'll probably be winging it when it comes to the acoustics of each venue.’
    • ‘We had no elaborate plan in place, we just winged it.’
    • ‘I had photographers telling me, ‘I really rely on your weather report’, and I was winging it.’
    • ‘They are not very comfortable winging it or blazing new trails; working steadily within the system is the Guardian way, for in the long run loyalty, discipline, and teamwork get the job done right.’
    • ‘Unfortunately I didn't really do any research or preparation, just thinking somehow I could wing it.’
    • ‘But they're all wildly different, which basically means bartenders everywhere are winging it.’
    • ‘Women tend to spend way too much time preparing instead of just winging it.’
    • ‘Has he trained for the event, or is he just winging it?’
    • ‘I mean, we - we're actors, so we're supposed to make it look like we're winging it.’
    • ‘In that sense, we've been winging it for what, nearly a decade now?’
    • ‘A master of improvisation, here he is, winging it at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature.’
    improvise, play it by ear, extemporize, ad lib
    View synonyms


  • in the wings

    • Ready to do something or to be used at the appropriate time.

      ‘older councillors were replaced by technocrats waiting in the wings’
      • ‘Teens love to recycle denim, and we've got a couple of ideas in the wings ready to roll.’
      • ‘Is there someone in the wings who, in case you don't run the company, will run the company?’
      • ‘It frustrates me because this silences the potential leader that is waiting in the wings.’
      • ‘She is now waiting in the wings to make a substantial musical contribution to the Malayalam film industry.’
      • ‘There was no moderate force ready in the wings capable of weathering the storm.’
      • ‘Bolton could have its next chess champion waiting in the wings.’
      • ‘It has been confirmed that he has made an informal approach, and is waiting in the wings.’
      • ‘There's always the backlog of books I have in the wings, waiting to be read.’
      • ‘Barclays waits in the wings and has not ruled out a late bid.’
      • ‘Now he is waiting in the wings again, ready to pounce and deliver for Kildare, if he is called to do so.’
  • on the wing

    • (of a bird) in flight.

      • ‘I occasionally walk the High Street early on weekend mornings when you can hear birds on the wing.’
      • ‘Hen harriers rarely fly in wet weather, but in dry conditions the birds spend much of the day on the wing.’
      • ‘They are certainly magnificent birds who live, sleep and feed on the wing.’
      • ‘The second tale was also to do with predators, and the present obsession with preserving every hawk and buzzard on the wing.’
  • on a wing and a prayer

    • With only the slightest chance of success.

      • ‘To ignore this is to run your business on a wing and a prayer, which is pure chance and takes your destiny out of your own hands.’
      • ‘Installing concrete on a wing and a prayer almost always either leads to failure from under-design, or a structure that has much more materials and labor than necessary.’
      • ‘‘Maybe it sometimes looked all right from the outside, but it was all on a wing and a prayer,’ says Andrew.’
      • ‘I hear that the mechanisms for transferring you from one provider to another are incredibly flaky and the whole thing is held together on a wing and a prayer.’
      • ‘Much of the rest of Scottish publishing, of course, limps along on a wing and a prayer, an industry unrecognisable from the situation in the 19th century when Edinburgh was a publishing powerhouse.’
      • ‘The Workers Party may literally be on a wing and a prayer when it comes to winning a seat in Cork North Central.’
      • ‘There is a commitment to bring this service to Westport but we aren't going to do it on a wing and a prayer.’
      • ‘You can't organise a major outside broadcast on a wing and a prayer.’
      • ‘The comments went up and the policy was never written and since then we've been operating on a wing and a prayer.’
      • ‘‘We've survived on a wing and a prayer,’ she says.’
  • spread (or stretch or try) one's wings

    • Extend one's activities and interests or start new ones.

      • ‘Many emerging leaders won't stretch their wings within a cage of past accomplishments and existing institutions.’
      • ‘Other European powers, such as Germany, were spreading their wings and extending their interests.’
      • ‘While it's great to spread your wings, taking a chance for someone other than yourself often has limited success.’
      • ‘Armagh wiped them out in the provincial decider and then Fermanagh stopped them from stretching their wings in the qualifiers.’
      • ‘Lots of children have gone to university and spread their wings.’
      • ‘The life experience gained from spreading your wings to explore the world for a while is priceless.’
      • ‘Let her spread her wings and expand her horizons on her next outing.’
      • ‘They certainly seem to want to stretch their wings.’
      • ‘They are desperate to stretch their wings and fly; but they don't know how and they don't quite dare.’
      • ‘We also need to do everything in our power to let our entrepreneurs spread their wings and do business outside of Scotland where the market is many times bigger.’
      expand, spread out, open up, extend
      View synonyms
  • take wing

    • 1(of a bird, insect, or other winged creature) fly away.

      • ‘One evening, just as a superb, palest grey cock hen-harrier drifted into view above the reeds, two merlins took wing.’
      • ‘Suddenly and for no apparent reason all these wigeon took wing accompanied by a wild chorus and a mighty roar of wings.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, overhead, several woodcreepers cling to tree trunks, ready to snatch insects that take wing to avoid being trampled.’
      • ‘But the birds always acted independently and never took wing together.’
      • ‘The crow preened its feathers and took wing again, gliding away into the trees.’
      • ‘On such an evening the local bat population takes wing, hundreds of them, feeding on the rising midges.’
      • ‘Families of busy mynahs chirruped, foraged for grasshoppers, and then trilled when they took wing as we approached.’
      • ‘Opening with a shot of a magnificent bald eagle taking wing over the vast conifer forests of Alaska, the film rapidly slides into a ‘do it by numbers’ action thriller and the cliches come thick and fast.’
      • ‘My foot encountered a twig, and it snapped loudly in my hearing, causing a flock of black creatures that had been roosting in a neighboring tree to take wing.’
      • ‘The ducks took wing, the multi-hued wading birds waddled off, and the once ubiquitous bass abandoned their breeding grounds in the former river basin - much to the dismay of hunters and sport fishermen.’
      1. 1.1Depart swiftly; flee.
        ‘Louise took wing for America’
        • ‘But it was when she first introduced him to opera that his interest really took wing and became a passion.’
        • ‘The Goldie perception - as epitomised by her statement above - is that Toryism must somehow mould itself to a flawed governmental system, instead of taking wing, asserting its principles and offering Scotland an alternative vision.’
        • ‘Novelist and aesthetician, she lived in her mother's Florentine villa with her, but took wing for a season each year to spend some time in London, where she was an accepted figure on the literary scene.’
        • ‘But it is in the encounter between Beauty and Beast that the story takes wing.’
        • ‘Get users, not geeks, to design the interface, and the project will take wing.’
        • ‘This equates to approximately half the turnover of the world music industry - in a year before file trading took wing.’
        • ‘It originated in an alley as a free street entertainment of Hamlet being played in half an hour and the idea took wing from there and developed into the fastest and funniest show that you can see now.’
        • ‘Private equity may be the only route for some start-ups or expansions, and angels would like to see more projects take wing, because that's how they make money.’
        • ‘It was here, amid the wilderness of the Forest of Dean (the inspiration for the Forbidden Forest) that Rowling's imagination took wing.’
        • ‘In Josette Bushell-Mingo's production the numbers are beautifully staged and Paul J Medford's choreography takes wing.’
        go away, depart, leave, take off, get out, get out of my sight
        View synonyms
  • under one's wing

    • In or into one's protective care.

      ‘Simon's uncle had taken him under his wing’
      • ‘Moo was a couple of years younger than Pat and his friends (at that time of life when a couple of years make a difference) and they kind of took him under their wing.’
      • ‘He reflects: ‘I was inspired by some local players who took me under their wing.’’
      • ‘In some clubs, new players are appointed a mentor who takes them under their wing and talks them through the first couple of games, explaining the intricacies which abound.’
      • ‘On the evidence it appears as though Anne Kelly, Jennifer's mother, took Jennifer's two boys under her wing and cared for them until Jennifer was finally able to resume her motherly duties on a full-time basis.’
      • ‘There was a lot of disease, it was noisy and cramped but they took me under their wing, they were intrigued by me and they did their best to look after me.’
      • ‘Assuming that this will never come from government, a way forward might be for primary care trusts to take alcohol agencies under their wing.’
      • ‘Krystal and I had sort of taken him under our wing and protected him from the assholes who disliked him.’
      • ‘There were times when you could look out your own bedroom window and envy the other kids outside who got to play whenever they wanted, while your mom kept you in, under her wing, to protect you.’
      • ‘Isabelle and Theo immediately take Matthew under their wing, inviting him to stay in the spare room while their parents holiday in the countryside.’
      • ‘‘The girls take the younger pupils under their wing and help them settle into the hectic schedule here at the school,’ explained Ms Carroll.’


Middle English (originally in the plural): from Old Norse vængir, plural of vængr.