1. Of or relating to aviation: a flying time of three hours between cities.
2. Capable of or engaged in flight: The bat is a flying mammal.
3. Situated, extending, or functioning in the air: a flying deck.
a. Swiftly moving; fleet: played the difficult passage with flying fingers.
b. Done or performed swiftly in or as if in the air: crossed the goal line with a flying leap.
5. Brief; hurried: took a flying glance at the report.
6. Capable of swift deployment or response; extremely mobile.
a. Set by hoisting from the deck. Used of a sail.
b. Secured only at the corners. Used of a sail.
1. Flight in an aircraft or spacecraft.
2. The piloting or navigation of an aircraft or spacecraft.
with flying colors
With complete or outstanding success: passed the exam with flying colors.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.