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Flee vs. Fly: What's the Difference?

Flee and Fly Definitions

Flee

To run away, as from trouble or danger
Fled from the house into the night.

Fly

To move through the air by means of wings or winglike parts.

Flee

To pass swiftly away; vanish
"of time fleeing beneath him" (William Faulkner).

Fly

To travel by air
We flew to Dallas.

Flee

To run away from
Flee the scene of an accident.
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Fly

To operate an aircraft or spacecraft.

Flee

(intransitive) To run away; to escape.
The prisoner tried to flee, but was caught by the guards.

Fly

To rise in or be carried through the air by the wind
A kite flying above the playground.

Flee

(transitive) To escape from.
Many people fled the country as war loomed.
Thousands of people moved northward trying to flee the drought.

Fly

To float or flap in the air
Pennants flying from the masthead.
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Flee

(intransitive) To disappear quickly; to vanish.
Ethereal products flee once freely exposed to air.

Fly

To move or be sent through the air with great speed
Bullets flying in every direction.
A plate that flew from my hands when I stumbled.

Flee

To run away, as from danger or evil; to avoid in an alarmed or cowardly manner; to hasten off; - usually with from. This is sometimes omitted, making the verb transitive.
[He] cowardly fled, not having struck one stroke.
Flee fornication.
So fled his enemies my warlike father.

Fly

To move with great speed; rush or dart
The children flew down the hall.

Flee

Run away quickly;
He threw down his gun and fled

Fly

To be communicated to many people
Rumors are flying about their breakup.

Fly

To flee; escape.

Fly

To hasten; spring
Flew to her students' defense.

Fly

To pass by swiftly
A vacation flying by.

Fly

To be dissipated; vanish
All his money has flown.

Fly

Past tense and past participle flied (flīd) Baseball To hit a fly ball.

Fly

To shatter or explode
The dropped plate flew into pieces.

Fly

To become suddenly emotional, especially angry
The driver flew into a rage.

Fly

(Informal) To gain acceptance or approval; go over
"However sophisticated the reasoning, this particular notion may not fly" (New York Times).

Fly

To cause to fly or float in the air
Fly a kite.
Fly a flag.

Fly

(Nautical) To operate under (a particular flag)
A tanker that flies the Liberian flag.

Fly

To pilot (an aircraft or spacecraft).

Fly

To carry or transport in an aircraft or spacecraft
Fly emergency supplies to a stricken area.

Fly

To pass over or through in flight
Flew the coastal route in record time.

Fly

To perform in a spacecraft or aircraft
Flew six missions into space.

Fly

To flee or run from
Fly a place in panic.

Fly

To avoid; shun
Fly temptation.

Fly

The act of flying; flight.

Fly

The opening, or the fastening that closes this opening, on the front of a pair of pants.

Fly

The flap of cloth that covers this opening.

Fly

A piece of protective fabric secured over a tent and often extended over the entrance.

Fly

A flyleaf.

Fly

(Baseball) A fly ball.

Fly

(Sports) In swimming, butterfly.

Fly

The span of a flag from the staff to the outer edge.

Fly

The outer edge of a flag.

Fly

A flywheel.

Fly

Flies The area directly over the stage of a theater, containing overhead lights, drop curtains, and equipment for raising and lowering sets.

Fly

Chiefly British A one-horse carriage, especially one for hire.

Fly

Any of numerous two-winged insects of the order Diptera, especially any of the family Muscidae, which includes the housefly.

Fly

Any of various other flying insects, such as a caddisfly.

Fly

A fishing lure simulating something a fish eats, such as a mayfly or a minnow, made by attaching materials such as feathers, tinsel, and colored thread to a fishhook.

Fly

Chiefly British Mentally alert; sharp.

Fly

(Slang) Fashionable; stylish.

Fly

(zoology) Any insect of the order Diptera; characterized by having two wings (except for some wingless species), also called true flies.

Fly

(non-technical) Especially, any of the insects of the family Muscidae, such as the common housefly (other families of Diptera include mosquitoes and midges).

Fly

Any similar, but not closely related insect, such as a dragonfly or butterfly.

Fly

(fishing) A lightweight fishing lure resembling an insect.

Fly

(weightlifting) A chest exercise performed by moving extended arms from the sides to in front of the chest. (also flye)

Fly

(swimming) The butterfly stroke (plural is normally flys).

Fly

(obsolete) A witch's familiar.

Fly

(obsolete) A parasite.

Fly

(preceded by definite article) A simple dance in which the hands are shaken in the air, popular in the 1960s.

Fly

(finance) A butterfly (combination of four options).

Fly

(obsolete) The action of flying; flight.

Fly

An act of flying.
There was a good wind, so I decided to give the kite a fly.

Fly

(baseball) A fly ball.

Fly

(American football) fly route

Fly

A piece of canvas that covers the opening at the front of a tent.

Fly

The sloping or roof part of the canvas of a tent.

Fly

(often plural) A strip of material (sometimes hiding zippers or buttons) at the front of a pair of trousers, pants, underpants, bootees, etc.
Ha-ha! Your flies are undone!

Fly

The free edge of a flag.

Fly

The horizontal length of a flag.

Fly

(weightlifting) An exercise that involves wide opening and closing of the arms perpendicular to the shoulders.

Fly

The part of a vane pointing the direction from which the wind blows.

Fly

(nautical) That part of a compass on which the points are marked; the compass card.

Fly

Two or more vanes set on a revolving axis, to act as a fanner, or to equalize or impede the motion of machinery by the resistance of the air, as in the striking part of a clock.

Fly

(historical) A type of small, light, fast horse-drawn carriage that can be hired for transportation (sometimes pluralised flys).

Fly

In a knitting machine, the piece hinged to the needle, which holds the engaged loop in position while the needle is penetrating another loop; a latch..

Fly

The pair of arms revolving around the bobbin, in a spinning wheel or spinning frame, to twist the yarn.

Fly

(weaving) A shuttle driven through the shed by a blow or jerk.

Fly

The person who took the printed sheets from the press.

Fly

A vibrating frame with fingers, attached to a power printing press for doing the same work.

Fly

One of the upper screens of a stage in a theatre.

Fly

(cotton manufacture) waste cotton

Fly

A wing.
The bullet barely grazed the wild fowl's fly.

Fly

(intransitive) To travel through the air, another gas, or a vacuum, without being in contact with a grounded surface.
Birds of passage fly to warmer regions as it gets colder in winter.
The Concorde flew from Paris to New York faster than any other passenger airplane.
It takes about eleven hours to fly from Frankfurt to Hong Kong.
The little fairy flew home on the back of her friend, the giant eagle.

Fly

To flee, to escape (from).
Fly, my lord! The enemy are upon us!

Fly

To cause to fly travel or float in the air: to transport via air or the like.
Charles Lindbergh flew his airplane The Spirit of St. Louis across the Atlantic ocean.
Why don’t you go outside and fly kites, kids? The wind is just perfect.
Birds fly their prey to their nest to feed it to their young.
Each day the postal service flies thousands of letters around the globe.

Fly

(intransitive) To travel or proceed very fast; to hasten.
He flew down the hill on his bicycle.
It's five o'clock already. Doesn't time fly?

Fly

(intransitive) To move suddenly, or with violence; to do an act suddenly or swiftly.
A door flies open
A bomb flies apart

Fly

(intransitive) To proceed with great success.
His career is really flying at the moment.
One moment the company was flying high, the next it was on its knees.

Fly

To be accepted, come about or work out.
Let's see if that idea flies.
You know, I just don't think that's going to fly. Why don't you spend your time on something better?

Fly

To display (a flag) on a flagpole.

Fly

(transitive) To hunt with a hawk.

Fly

To be in the winged adult stage.
This species flies from late summer until frost.

Fly

To hit a fly ball; to hit a fly ball that is caught for an out. Compare ground (verb) and line (verb).
Jones flied to right in his last at-bat.

Fly

Quick-witted, alert, mentally sharp.

Fly

(slang) Well dressed, smart in appearance; in style, cool.
He's pretty fly.

Fly

(slang) Beautiful; displaying physical beauty.

Fly

To move in or pass through the air with wings, as a bird.

Fly

To move through the air or before the wind; esp., to pass or be driven rapidly through the air by any impulse.

Fly

To float, wave, or rise in the air, as sparks or a flag.
Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

Fly

To move or pass swiftly; to hasten away; to circulate rapidly; as, a ship flies on the deep; a top flies around; rumor flies.
Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race.
The dark waves murmured as the ships flew on.

Fly

To run from danger; to attempt to escape; to flee; as, an enemy or a coward flies. See Note under Flee.
Fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.
Whither shall I fly to escape their hands ?

Fly

To move suddenly, or with violence; to do an act suddenly or swiftly; - usually with a qualifying word; as, a door flies open; a bomb flies apart.

Fly

To cause to fly or to float in the air, as a bird, a kite, a flag, etc.
The brave black flag I fly.

Fly

To fly or flee from; to shun; to avoid.
Sleep flies the wretch.
To fly the favors of so good a king.

Fly

To hunt with a hawk.

Fly

To manage (an aircraft) in flight; as, to fly an aëroplane.

Fly

Any winged insect; esp., one with transparent wings; as, the Spanish fly; firefly; gall fly; dragon fly.

Fly

A hook dressed in imitation of a fly, - used for fishing.

Fly

A familiar spirit; a witch's attendant.
A trifling fly, none of your great familiars.

Fly

A parasite.

Fly

A kind of light carriage for rapid transit, plying for hire and usually drawn by one horse.

Fly

The length of an extended flag from its staff; sometimes, the length from the "union" to the extreme end.

Fly

The part of a vane pointing the direction from which the wind blows.

Fly

That part of a compass on which the points are marked; the compass card.

Fly

Two or more vanes set on a revolving axis, to act as a fanner, or to equalize or impede the motion of machinery by the resistance of the air, as in the striking part of a clock.

Fly

The piece hinged to the needle, which holds the engaged loop in position while the needle is penetrating another loop; a latch.

Fly

The pair of arms revolving around the bobbin, in a spinning wheel or spinning frame, to twist the yarn.

Fly

A shuttle driven through the shed by a blow or jerk.

Fly

Formerly, the person who took the printed sheets from the press.

Fly

The outer canvas of a tent with double top, usually drawn over the ridgepole, but so extended as to touch the roof of the tent at no other place.

Fly

One of the upper screens of a stage in a theater.

Fly

The fore flap of a bootee; also, a lap on trousers, overcoats, etc., to conceal a row of buttons.

Fly

A batted ball that flies to a considerable distance, usually high in the air; also, the flight of a ball so struck; as, it was caught on the fly. Also called fly ball.

Fly

Waste cotton.

Fly

Knowing; wide awake; fully understanding another's meaning.

Fly

Two-winged insects characterized by active flight

Fly

Flap consisting of a piece of canvas that can be drawn back to provide entrance to a tent

Fly

An opening in a garment that is closed by a zipper or buttons concealed by a fold of cloth

Fly

(baseball) a hit that flies up in the air

Fly

Fisherman's lure consisting of a fishhook decorated to look like an insect

Fly

Travel through the air; be airborne;
Man cannot fly

Fly

Move quickly or suddenly;
He flew about the place

Fly

Fly a plane

Fly

Transport by aeroplane;
We fly flowers from the Caribbean to North America

Fly

Cause to fly or float;
Fly a kite

Fly

Be dispersed or disseminated;
Rumors and accusations are flying

Fly

Change quickly from one emotional state to another;
Fly into a rage

Fly

Pass away rapidly;
Time flies like an arrow
Time fleeing beneath him

Fly

Travel in an airplane;
She is flying to Cincinnati tonight
Are we driving or flying?

Fly

Display in the air or cause to float;
Fly a kite
All nations fly their flags in front of the U.N.

Fly

Run away quickly;
He threw down his gun and fled

Fly

Travel over (an area of land or sea) in an aircraft;
Lindbergh was the first to fly the Atlantic

Fly

Hit a fly

Fly

Decrease rapidly and disappear;
The money vanished in las Vegas
All my stock assets have vaporized

Fly

(British informal) not to be deceived or hoodwinked

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