Online Dictionary

fly (v.1) Explained

fly (v.1) at English => English (English Etymology) Of Explained:

"to soar through air," O.E. fleogan (class II strong verb; past tense fleag, pp. flogen), from W.Gmc. *fleuganan (cf. O.H.G. fliogan, O.N. fl?gja, M.Du. vlieghen, Ger. fliegen), from PIE *pleu- "flowing, floating" (cf. Lith. plaukiu "to swim"). The O.E. plural in -n (cf. oxen) gradually normalized 13c.-15c. to -s. Notion of "flapping as a wing does" led to sense of "tent flap" (1810), which yielded (1844) "covering for buttons that close up a garment." The slang sense (n. and adj.) "wide awake" is 18c., perhaps from fledge. Flyer "small handbill or fly-sheet" is 1889, U.S. slang, from notion of "made to be scattered broadcast." Fly-swatter first attested 1917. Flying buttress is from 1669. Fly-fishing (from fly (n.)) is from 1653; while flying fish is from c.1511. Flying saucer first attested 1947, though the image of saucers for unidentified flying objects is from at least 1880s. Slang phrase fly off the handle "lose one's cool" dates from 1825. On the fly is 1851. Flypaper attested from 1851, though the thing itself is said to have become commonly available in London in 1848. Flying colors (1706) is probably from the image of a naval vessel with the national flag bravely displayed. ///