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fly beneath (the/someone's) radar
To go without being noticed, detected, or addressed. A: "Have you heard this band's latest album?" B: "I didn't even know it was out, it must have flown beneath my radar." Every year, the government promises to do something about the homelessness problem, yet every year it seems to fly beneath the radar.
fly under (the/someone's) radar
To go without being noticed, detected, or addressed. A: "Have you heard this band's latest album?" B: "I didn't even know it was out, it must have flown under my radar." Every year, the government promises to do something about the homelessness problem, yet every year it seems to fly under the radar again.
fly by the seat of (one's) pants
To rely on one's instinct, as opposed to acting according to a set plan. I really don't know how to operate this thing, I'm just flying by the seat of my pants here. You can't just fly by the seat of your pants, Jenna—please give your future some serious thought.
fly in the face of
To be or act in clear opposition to something else. I can't believe you said something so awful. It flies in the face of everything we stand for! Don't quit now, that just flies in the face of all your hard work.
fly in the teeth of
To be or act in clear opposition to something else. I can't believe you said something so awful. It flies in the teeth of everything we stand for! Don't quit now, that just flies in the teeth of all your hard work.
fly a kite
1. To suggest something in order to gauge interest in it or others' perception of it. When everyone objected to my idea, I reassured them that I was just flying a kite and had not made any sort of decision on the matter.
2. To ponder a potential reason or explanation for something. Oh, you're just flying a kite—you don't really know why Emily didn't come to the party.
fly the flag
To stand up for, support, or defend someone or something. A number of people from the actor's hometown are coming to New York to fly the flag at his debut performance on Broadway. My country is often a target for insults or gibes abroad, so whenever I go traveling I make a point of flying the flag for it.
fly the nest
To move out of one's parents' house for the first time. I'm so nervous to fly the nest and start college this fall because I've never lived on my own before. I can't believe my little girl is getting ready to fly the nest. I'm so proud and so sad all at once!
the feathers fly
There is an argument. When the feathers fly, I'm making myself scarce—there's no way I'm getting roped into a fight between those two. You can be sure that the feathers will fly if the president vetoes the bill that both sides of congress worked so hard to pass.
the fur flies
There is an argument. When the fur flies, I'm making myself scarce—there's no way I'm getting roped into a fight between those two. You can be sure that the fur will fly if the president vetoes the bill that both sides of congress worked so hard to pass.
1. To fly an airplane in extremely low visibility, relying on the plane's instruments instead. The huge plume of ash sent into the air by the volcano forced the pilots to fly blind.
2. By extension, to do something based on guesswork, intuition, or without any help or instructions. Since this is our first attempt at developing an app, we'll be flying blind as we figure out how to get things working correctly. I've never filed my own taxes before, so I'm sort of flying blind.
fly into a rage
To become uncontrollably angry; to lose control of one's temper. Samantha flew into a rage when she heard that her brother would be getting the family's old car. I know you're upset, but there's no point flying into a rage like that. It was just an honest mistake.
fly off the handle
To become uncontrollably angry; to lose control of one's temper. It's a shame the candidate allowed himself to fly off the handle like that during the debate, since it undermines a lot of the really solid arguments he'd been making up to that point. I know you're upset, but there's no point flying off the handle like that. It was just an honest mistake.
fly the coop
To leave or escape (something). This lecture is so boring. Come on, let's fly the coop and go get a drink somewhere! I'm definitely flying the coop when I turn 18—I can't wait to have a little freedom!
fly into a temper
To become uncontrollably angry; to lose control of one's temper. Samantha flew into a temper when she heard that her brother would be getting the family's old car. I know you're upset, but there's no point flying into a temper like that. It was just an honest mistake.
fly off at a tangent
To begin addressing or discussing a topic that is different than or not relevant to the main discussion. I tried to address the customer's problem, but she kept flying off at a tangent and I couldn't understand what her true complaint was. In the middle of our conversation about my finances, my advisor flew off at a tangent about current events.
1. To have someone or something travel to one via airplane. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "fly" and "in." Did you hear that the school is flying in a well-known author for the literary festival?
2. To travel to a particular destination by airplane. I'm flying in on Thursday—can you pick me up at the airport?
3. To travel to a particular destination by airplane. I'm flying into Philly on Thursday—can you pick me up at the airport?
fly into (someone or something)
1. To have someone or something travel to one via airplane. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "fly" and "into." The hospital is flying the organ transport team into Dallas from Phoenix.
2. To travel into a weather-related condition while flying. There was a lot of turbulence because we flew into a storm.
3. To collide with someone or something while flying. A miscommunication with air traffic control led to those two planes flying into each other.
fly at (someone or something)
To abruptly strike or attack someone or something. Out of nowhere, I heard shouts behind me as the two boys who had been arguing flew at each other.
1. verb To pass someone by flying. Ethel screamed as a bird flew right by her head and startled her.
2. verb To pass or go by swiftly, usually a period of time. I don't know, we just started chatting, and then I looked up and two hours had flown by! With the way senior year is flying by, we'll be graduates before you know it!
3. verb To make a short, surprise visit. Oh, Paulina only flew by for a few hours, that's why you didn't see her.
4. noun A flight that travels very close to an intended target, often in outer space. When used as a noun, the phrase is usually written as one word. We'll do a flyby to collect more information on that planet.
1. To be very happy or jubilant. Molly's been flying high ever since she passed her driver's test.
2. To flourish or have much success. Look at all the money we raised—our charity has really been flying high.
1. To leave a particular place by flying, as of a bird. The birds all flew off when they heard us coming.
2. To depart some place or thing hastily. Yeah, Paulina flew off earlier today because she had to be in Baltimore by noon.
3. To travel to a particular destination by flying, as on an airplane. Well, I guess I won't see you this weekend if you're flying off to Paris.
4. To suddenly become very upset, angry, or agitated. Don't fly off into a fit—we can fix this problem.
1. To leave for a particular destination on an airplane. I'm flying out on Monday morning, and I'll be home Thursday night.
2. To leave a particular place or thing by flying, as of a bird. All of the birds flew out of the tree when they heard us coming.
3. To travel from a particular city or airport, as of an airline. But I don't think that airline flies out of Dulles, so we'll have to pick another one.
4. To depart from some place or thing hastily. We flew out of the restaurant at the sound of the fire alarm.
5. To arrange for someone to fly to a particular destination. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "fly" and "out." I'm going to fly your sister out for her birthday—I think she really needs some time with us here in the sun.
6. In baseball, to hit a fly ball that is caught by an opposing player (and thus be called "out"). Ugh, our best hitter just flied out.
1. Lit. to soar past, flying. Three jet fighters flew by. A huge hawk flew by, frightening all the smaller birds.
2. Fig. [for time] to go quickly. The hours just flew by, because we were having fun. Time flew by so fast that it was dark before we knew it.
fly in the face of someone or somethingand fly in the teeth of someone or something
Fig. to challenge someone or something; to go against someone or something. This idea flies in the face of everything we know about matter and energy. You had better not fly in the face of the committee.
fly into a rage
Fig. to become enraged suddenly. When he heard the report, he flew into a rage. We were afraid that she would fly into a rage.
1. Lit. to take to flight quickly. The stork flew off before we got a good look at it. The little birds flew off and things were quiet again.
2. Fig. to leave in a hurry. Well, it's late. I must fly off. She flew off a while ago.
fly off the handle
Fig. to lose one's temper. Every time anyone mentions taxes, Mrs. Brown flies off the handle. If she keeps flying off the handle like that, she'll have a heart attack.
fly out(of something)
1. Lit. to leave a place by air. We are going to fly out of Manaus on a charter. We flew out on time.
2. Fig. to leave a place quickly. We flew out of there as fast as we could, She opened the door and flew out.
fly the coop
Fig. to escape; to get out or get away. (Alludes to a chicken escaping from a chicken coop.) I couldn't stand the party, so I flew the coop. The prisoner flew the coop at the first opportunity.
Feel one's way, proceed by guesswork, as in There are no directions for assembling this furniture, so I'm flying blind. This hyperbolic expression dates from World War II, when it was used by pilots who could not see the horizon and therefore had to rely on instruments. It was transferred to broader use soon afterward.
Be elated, as in They were flying high after the birth of their first baby. This expression alludes to a high pitch of feeling. [Mid-1600s]
fly in the face of
Also, fly in the teeth of. Act in direct opposition to or defiance of. For example, This decision flies in the face of all precedent, or They went out without permission, flying in the teeth of house rules. This metaphoric expression alludes to a physical attack. [Mid-1500s]
fly off the handle
Lose one's temper, as in Tom flies off the handle at the slightest setback. This metaphoric expression alludes to the loosened head of a hammer flying off after a blow. [Early 1800s]
fly the coop
Escape, run away, as in After years of fighting with my mother, my father finally flew the coop. This term originally meant "escape from jail," known as the coop in underworld slang since the late 1700s. [Late 1800s]
fly the coop
If someone flies the coop, they leave the situation that they are in, often because they want to have more freedom or want to do something different. Aged 21, I felt the time was right to fly the coop and my parents were okay about it. It should be a proud moment, junior hairwasher grows up, graduates to senior stylist and then flies the coop to set up in a salon of his or her own. Compare with fly the nest. Note: A coop is a small cage in which chickens or small animals are kept. `Coop' is also American slang for a prison.
fly the flag
1. If you fly the flag for your country or a group to which you belong, you represent it or do something to support it. I would love to fly the flag for Britain and win the Eurovision Song Contest. Note: Verbs such as carry, show or wave are sometimes used instead of fly. The Kuwaiti team said they were only in Peking to show the flag. He believed in the sacred power of great music: he felt that he was carrying the flag of high culture.
2. If you fly the flag for something, you support it and praise it. Wragg was left to fly the flag for state education. Note: Verbs such as carry, show or wave are sometimes used instead of fly. I think it's important that we wave the flag for the arts.
the fur flies
If the fur flies, people argue very fiercely and angrily about something. The fur has been flying in Geneva this week, as the two contenders to be next head of the World Trade Organisation squared up to one another. If she ever finds out who did it then the fur will fly. Note: You can also say that someone or something sets the fur flying. A blazing row between Euro factions set the fur flying again on the Tory backbenches. Note: The image here is of animals tearing out each other's fur during a fight.
fly off the handleINFORMAL
If you fly off the handle, you suddenly become very angry. When I finally managed to speak to him, he flew off the handle and shouted down the phone. Note: The reference here is to an axe head which has become loose, and so when someone swings the axe, the axe head flies off.
fly the nestor
leave the nest
When children fly the nest or leave the nest, they leave their parents' home to live on their own. When their children had flown the nest, he and his wife moved to a cottage in Dorset. One day the children are going to leave the nest and have their own lives. Compare with fly the coop.
fly the flag1 (of a ship) be registered to a particular country and sail under its flag. 2 represent or demonstrate support for your country, political party, or organization, especially when you are abroad.
In sense 2, the forms show the flag , carry the flag , and wave the flag are also found.
2 1996 Hello! She flew the flag for British tennis in the Eighties.
fly the coopmake your escape. informal
1991 Julia Phillips You'll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again Has David left? Nah, he would want to make sure I'm really ensconced, or I might fly the coop.
fly highbe very successful; prosper.
The noun high-flyer (or high-flier ) meaning ‘a successful and ambitious person’ developed from this phrase in the mid 17th century.
fly in the face ofbe openly at variance with what is usual or expected.
fly a kitetry something out to test opinion. informal
A historical sense of this phrase was ‘raise money by an accommodation bill’, meaning to raise money on credit, and this sense of testing public opinion of your creditworthiness gave rise to the current figurative sense. The US phrase go fly a kite! means ‘go away!’.
fly the nest(of a young person) leave their parent's home to set up home elsewhere. informal
The image here is of a young bird's departure from its nest on becoming able to fly. Compare with empty nester (at empty).
fly off the handlelose your temper suddenly and unexpectedly. informal
This expression uses the image of a loose head of an axe flying off its handle while the axe is being swung.
fly the ˈcoop(informal, especially American English) escape from a place: He was never happy living at home with his parents, so as soon as possible he flew the coop and got his own place.
A coop is a cage for chickens, hens, etc.
fly ˈhighbe successful: The business is flying high at the moment, making large profits and attracting a lot of investors. ▶ ˌhigh-ˈflyer (also ˌhigh-ˈflier) noun: academic high-flyers
fly a ˈkite(British English, informal) release a bit of information, etc. in order to test public reaction to something that you plan to do at a later date: Let’s fly a kite. Tell the papers that the government is thinking of raising the school leaving age to 18, and we’ll see what the reaction is.
A kite is a kind of toy that you fly in the air at the end of one or more long strings. It will tell you which way the wind is blowing.
ˌfly the ˈnest
1 (of a young bird) become able to fly and leave its nest
2 (informal) (of somebody’s child) leave home and live somewhere else: Their children have all flown the nest now.
fly off the ˈhandle(informal) suddenly become very angry: There’s no need to fly off the handle!
1. To pass quickly, as of a moving object or an interval of time: The summer months flew by, leaving us only a few days warm enough for swimming.
2. To visit briefly, often unexpectedly: Some of my old school friends flew by for a short visit last week.
3. To move past in flight: Several geese flew by as we climbed the hill.
1. To fly away: After the gunshot, the birds flew off.
2. To depart and travel by flying: My parents flew off to Miami for the weekend.
3. To suddenly and expressively enter an excited, especially negative, emotional state: When the child was told to sit down, he flew off into a rage.
1. To move through the air, leaving some location: The birds flew out of their nest. Yesterday we flew out of London and arrived in New York. The pilot flew the soldiers out quickly.
2. To operate aircraft using some place as a central landing area: This new airline flies out of Boston and already has 20 destination cities.
3. Baseball To be called out by hitting a fly ball that is caught by the other team: The batter swung at the first pitch and flied out.
fly the coop
tv. to escape from somewhere; to get away. I was afraid he would fly the coop if I didn’t tie him up.
To be elated: They were flying high after their first child was born.
fly off the handleInformal
To become suddenly enraged: flew off the handle when the train was finally canceled.
fly off the handle
To lose one's temper. The image is one of speed, as rapidly as an axe head parting company from the handle during a down stroke. The phrase is credited to the 19th-century humorist Thomas Haliburton.