in the ointment n. Minor irritation or setback.
- on the wall n. Unnoticed observer.
- —v. (flies; past flew; past part. Flown) 1 a (of an aircraft, bird, etc.) Move through the air or space under control, esp. With wings. B travel through the air or space.
- control the flight of or transport in (esp. An aircraft).
- a cause to fly or remain aloft. B (of a flag, hair, etc.) Wave or flutter.
- pass, move, or rise quickly.
- a flee; flee from. B colloq. Depart hastily.
- be driven, forced, or scattered (sent me flying).
- (foll. By at, upon) a hasten or spring violently. B attack or criticize fiercely. —n. (pl. -ies) 1 (usu. In pl.) A concealing flap, esp. Over a trouser-fastening. B this fastening.
- flap at a tent entrance.
- (in pl.) Space above a stage where scenery and lighting are suspended.
- act of flying. fly high be ambitious; prosper. Fly in the face of disregard or disobey. Fly a kite test opinion. Fly off the handle colloq. Lose one's temper. [old english]
- n. (pl. Flies) 1 insect with two usu. Transparent wings.
- other winged insect, e.g. A firefly.
- disease of plants or animals caused by flies.
- (esp. Artificial) fly as bait in fishing. like flies in large numbers (usu. Of people dying etc.). No flies on (him etc.) Colloq. (he is) very astute. [old english]
- adj. Slang knowing, clever, alert. [origin unknown]