AskDefine | Define flew

Dictionary Definition

fly adj : (British informal) not to be deceived or hoodwinked


1 two-winged insects characterized by active flight
2 flap consisting of a piece of canvas that can be drawn back to provide entrance to a tent [syn: tent-fly, rainfly, fly sheet, tent flap]
3 an opening in a garment that is closed by a zipper or buttons concealed by a fold of cloth [syn: fly front]
4 (baseball) a hit that flies up in the air [syn: fly ball]
5 fisherman's lure consisting of a fishhook decorated to look like an insect


1 travel through the air; be airborne; "Man cannot fly" [syn: wing]
2 move quickly or suddenly; "He flew about the place"
3 fly a plane [syn: aviate, pilot]
4 transport by aeroplane; "We fly flowers from the Caribbean to North America"
5 cause to fly or float; "fly a kite"
6 be dispersed or disseminated; "Rumors and accusations are flying"
7 change quickly from one emotional state to another; "fly into a rage"
8 pass away rapidly; "Time flies like an arrow"; "Time fleeing beneath him" [syn: fell, vanish]
9 travel in an airplane; "she is flying to Cincinnati tonight"; "Are we driving or flying?"
10 display in the air or cause to float; "fly a kite"; "All nations fly their flags in front of the U.N."
11 run away quickly; "He threw down his gun and fled" [syn: flee, take flight]
12 travel over (an area of land or sea) in an aircraft; "Lindbergh was the first to fly the Atlantic"
13 hit a fly
14 decrease rapidly and disappear; "the money vanished in las Vegas"; "all my stock assets have vaporized" [syn: vanish, vaporize] [also: flown, flew]flew See fly

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /flʊə/
  • Rhymes: -uː



  1. simple past of fly

Extensive Definition

Flight is the process by which an object achieves sustained movement either through the air (or movement beyond earth's atmosphere, in the case of spaceflight) by aerodynamically generating lift, propulsive thrust or aerostatically using buoyancy.

Forces for flight

Forces relevant to flight are
These forces must be balanced for stable flight to occur.
The stabilization of flight angles (roll, yaw and pitch) and the rates of change of these can involve horizontal stabilizers (i.e. 'a tail'), ailerons and other movable aerodynamic devices which control angular stability i.e. flight attitude (which in turn affects altitude, heading).

Animal flight

The most successful groups of living things that fly are insects, birds, and bats. The extinct Pterosaurs, an order of reptiles contemporaneous with the dinosaurs, were also very successful flying animals. Each of these groups' wings evolved independently. The wings of the flying vertebrate groups are all based on the forelimbs, but differ significantly in structure; those of insects are highly-modified versions of structures that form gills in most other groups of arthropods. See also Bird flight.
Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight. However, there are several gliding mammals which are able to glide from tree to tree using fleshy membranes between their limbs; some can travel hundreds of meters in this way with very little loss in height. Flying frogs use greatly enlarged webbed feet for a similar purpose, and there are flying lizards which employ their unusually wide, flattened rib-cages to the same end. Certain snakes also use a flattened rib-cage to glide, with a back and forth motion much the same as they use on the ground.
Flying fish can glide using enlarged wing-like fins, and have been observed soaring for hundreds of meters using the updraft on the leading edges of waves. It is thought that this ability was chosen by natural selection because it was an effective means of escape from underwater predators.
Most birds fly (see bird flight), with some exceptions. The largest birds, the ostrich and the emu, are earthbound, as were the now-extinct dodos, while the non-flying penguins have adapted their wings for use under water. Most small flightless birds are native to small islands, and lead a lifestyle where flight would confer little advantage. The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal in the world; its terminal velocity exceeds 370 km/h (199 mph) in a dive.
Among living animals that fly, the wandering albatross has the greatest wingspan, up to 3.5 meters (11.5 ft); the great bustard has the greatest weight, topping at 21 kilograms (46 pounds).
Among the many species of insects, some fly and some do not (See insect flight).

Mechanical flight

Mechanical flight is the use of a machine to fly. These machines include airplanes, gliders, helicopters, autogyros, airships, balloons, ornithopters, and spacecraft. Gliders provide unpowered flight. Another form of mechanical flight is parasailing where a parachute-like object is pulled by a boat. In an airplane lift is created by the wings; the shape of the wings of the airplane are designed specially for the type of flight desired. There are different types of wings: tempered, semi-tempered, sweptback, rectangular, and eliptical. An aircraft wing is sometimes called an airfoil, which is a device that creates lift by differences in pressure.

Religion, mythology and fiction

In religion, mythology and fiction, human or anthropomorphic characters sometimes have the ability to fly. Examples include angels in the Hebrew Bible, Daedalus in Greek mythology, and Superman in comics. Other non-human legendary creatures, such as some dragons and Pegasus, are also depicted with an ability to fly.
The ability to fly may come from wings or other visible means of propulsion, from superhuman or god-like powers, or may simply be left unexplained.

The study of flight

Leanardo Da Vinci is one of the best-known early students of flight. He made many prototypes of parachutes wings and ornithopters.

See also


flew in Arabic: طيران
flew in German: Fliegen (Fortbewegung)
flew in Spanish: Vuelo
flew in French: Vol (animal)
flew in Indonesian: Terbang
flew in Italian: Volo
flew in Hebrew: טיסה
flew in Japanese: 飛翔
flew in Polish: Lot (lotnictwo)
flew in Portuguese: Vôo
flew in Romanian: Zbor
flew in Russian: Полёт
flew in Simple English: Flight
flew in Slovak: Let
flew in Finnish: Lentäminen
flew in Swedish: Flygning
flew in Contenese: 飛翔
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