1. the act, manner, or power of flying.
  2. the distance covered or the course taken by a flying object: a 500-mile flight; the flight of the ball.
  3. a trip by an airplane, glider, etc.
  4. a scheduled trip on an airline: a 5 o’clock flight.
  5. a number of beings or things flying or passing through the air together: a flight of geese.
  6. the basic tactical unit of military air forces, consisting of two or more aircraft.
  7. the act, principles, or technique of flying an airplane: flight training.
  8. a journey into or through outer space: a rocket flight.
  9. swift movement, transition, or progression: the flight of time.
  10. a soaring above or transcending ordinary bounds: a flight of fancy.
  11. a series of steps between one floor or landing of a building and the next.
  12. Archery.
    1. flight arrow.
    2. the distance such an arrow travels when shot.

verb (used without object)

  1. (of wild fowls) to fly in coordinated flocks.


  1. the act, skill, or manner of flying
  2. a journey made by a flying animal or object
    1. a scheduled airline journey
    2. an aircraft flying on such a journey
  3. a group of flying birds or aircrafta flight of swallows
  4. the basic tactical unit of a military air force
  5. a journey through space, esp of a spacecraft
  6. rapid movement or progress
  7. a soaring mental journey above or beyond the normal everyday worlda flight of fancy
    1. a single line of hurdles across a track in a race
    2. a series of such hurdles
  8. a bird’s wing or tail feather; flight feather
  9. a feather or plastic attachment fitted to an arrow or dart to give it stability in flight
  10. See flight arrow
  11. the distance covered by a flight arrow
  12. sport, esp cricket
    1. a flighted movement imparted to a ball, dart, etc
    2. the ability to flight a ball
  13. angling a device on a spinning lure that revolves rapidly
  14. a set of steps or stairs between one landing or floor and the next
  15. a large enclosed area attached to an aviary or pigeon loft where the birds may fly but not escape


  1. (tr) sport to cause (a ball, dart, etc) to float slowly or deceptively towards its target
  2. (intr) (of wild fowl) to fly in groups
  3. (tr) to shoot (a bird) in flight
  4. (tr) to fledge (an arrow or a dart)


  1. the act of fleeing or running away, as from danger
  2. put to flight to cause to run away; rout
  3. take flight or take to flight to run away or withdraw hastily; flee

“act of flying,” Old English flyht “a flying, flight,” from Proto-Germanic *flukhtiz (cf. Dutch vlucht “flight of birds,” Old Norse flugr, Old High German flug, German Flug “flight”), from root of *fleugan “to fly” (see fly (v.1)).

Spelling altered late 14c. from Middle English fliht (see fight (v.)). Meaning “an instance of flight” is 1785, originally of ballooning. Meaning “series of stairs between landings” is from 1703.


“act of fleeing,” from Middle English fluht (c.1200), not found in Old English, but presumed to have existed. Related to Old English fleon “flee” (see flee), and cognate with Old Saxon fluht, Old Frisian flecht “act of fleeing,” Dutch vlucht, Old High German fluht, German Flucht, Old Nprse flotti, Gothic þlauhs.

In addition to the idioms beginning with flight

  • flight of fancy

also see:

  • put to flight
  • take flight

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