flew


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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.
See also: beneath, fly, 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.
See also: fly, radar

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.
See also: fly, of, pant, seat

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.
See also: face, fly, of

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.
See also: fly, of, teeth

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.
See also: fly, kite

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.
See also: flag, fly

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!
See also: fly, nest

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 president vetoes the bill that both side of congress worked so hard to pass.
See also: feather, fly

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 president vetoes the bill that both side of congress worked so hard to pass.
See also: flies, fur

fly blind

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.
See also: blind, fly

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.
See also: fly, rage

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.
See also: fly, handle, off

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!
See also: coop, fly

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.
See also: fly, temper

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.
See also: fly, off, tangent

fly in the face of someone or something

 and 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.
See also: face, fly, of

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.
See also: fly, rage

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.
See also: fly, handle, off

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.
See also: coop, fly

fly blind

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.
See also: blind, fly

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]
See also: face, fly, of

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]
See also: fly, handle, off

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]
See also: coop, fly

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.
See also: coop, fly

fly the flag

COMMON
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.
See also: flag, fly

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.
See also: flies, fur

fly off the handle

INFORMAL
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.
See also: fly, handle, off

fly the nest

or

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.
See also: fly, nest

fly the flag

1 (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.
See also: flag, fly

fly the coop

make 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.
See also: coop, fly

fly in the face of

be openly at variance with what is usual or expected.
See also: face, fly, of

fly a kite

try 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!’.
See also: fly, kite

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).
See also: fly, nest

fly off the handle

lose 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.
See also: fly, handle, off

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.
See also: coop, fly

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.
See also: fly, kite

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.
See also: fly, nest

fly off the ˈhandle

(informal) suddenly become very angry: There’s no need to fly off the handle!
See also: fly, handle, off

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.
See also: coop, fly

fly off the handle

Informal
To become suddenly enraged: flew off the handle when the train was finally canceled.
See also: fly, handle, off

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.
See also: fly, handle, off
References in periodicals archive ?
All my command pilots flew attack helicopters in 'Nam.
The squadron was soon ordered south to Pusan, from which it flew missions all over Korea.
Kearl also flew over Kitty Hawk during the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first flight and over ``Thunder over Louisville,'' a Kentucky air show that ends in what is billed as North America's largest pyrotechnic display.
Baugh said the B-25s he flew would cruise at about 200 miles per hour.
12, 1953, just a few days before the 50th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first flight, Yeager bested Crossfield when he flew an X-1A to a record speed of more than Mach 2.
Among the aircraft Schneider flew while at Dryden was the SR-71 Blackbird, a favorite among Antelope Valley aviation fans.
The jet-powered GlobalFlyer will also be a much higher-flying aircraft than the propeller-driven Voyager, which flew under 20,500 feet.
A Women's Auxiliary Ferry Squadron pilot, Watson flew fighters, bombers and transports and even did tests of the then newfangled radar during World War II.
MOJAVE - Seventeen years after a plane he designed flew around the world without refueling, aircraft designer Burt Rutan is building a new globe-circling craft.
Eastham is perhaps best known as the man who in 1963 flew the first flight of the YF-12A, a proposed fighter version of the Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft.
A National Aeronautics and Space Administration F/A-18 jet experienced a 29 percent fuel savings June 27 when it flew in the vortex of a DC-8 research aircraft.
The WASPs flew more than 60 million miles during World War II, flying 78 different type of aircraft.
Others flew down to La Paz and took a three-hour van trip to San Carlos to meet the Shogun.
Aluminum Overcast is adorned with the colors of the 398th Bomb Group, which flew combat missions over Europe in World War II.