Definition of wing in English:

wing

Line breaks: wing
Pronunciation: /wɪŋ
 
/

noun

1(In a bird) a modified forelimb that bears large feathers and is used for flying.
More example sentences
  • Besides having forelimbs that resemble the wings of modern birds, the animal sported long feathers from thigh to foot on each hind limb.
  • In medieval Europe, scribes used trimmed feathers from the wings of large birds and various inks to mark a set of alphabetic letters on parchment skins.
  • A bird needs wings for lift, tail feathers for control and lightweight bones.
Synonyms
literary pinion, van
rare pennon
1.1(In a bat or pterosaur) a modified forelimb with skin stretched between or behind the fingers.
More example sentences
  • Birds have feathers, which are unfeeling structures, whereas the pterosaur's wings were made entirely out of skin.
  • Megachiropterans have a claw on the second finger of the wing.
  • Mischief glared at the dragon as it stretched its wings.
1.2(In most insects) each of two or four flat extensions of the thoracic cuticle, either transparent or covered in scales.
More example sentences
  • Among the tissues preserved in the paper shales are delicate feathers, flower parts, hair, insect wings, and scales.
  • Uniquely, a butterfly's outer body is covered by tiny sensory hairs and the wings are covered by scales.
  • Vertebrate and insect wings are not homologous but have some superficial similarities; they have similar functions yet are very different in structure.
1.3The wing of a bird as food.
More example sentences
  • They think a waffle needs a chicken wing the way a fish needs galoshes.
  • Many of my classmates still consider the chicken wings the best they have ever eaten, even after many years and visits to large numbers of good restaurants.
  • They're like the crispy end of a chicken wing you get at a roadhouse.
1.4 (usually wings) Used with reference to ease and swiftness of movement: the thought gave wings to her feet
More example sentences
  • Good Vibrations took music production to a new level, and Brian Wilson's work soared above us on wings of genius.
  • I don't know how the future will take us, how we will fly on the wings and winds of fate and fortune.
  • Terror gave her feet wings, and she outdistanced them despite their longer legs.
2A rigid horizontal structure that projects from both sides of an aircraft and supports it in the air.
More example sentences
  • The single-seat research aircraft had a monocoque aluminum fuselage with a wood wing.
  • These are the de-icing boots on the leading edges of the wings, horizontal and vertical stabilizers.
  • Bombardier Roy Brown's daughter Judy Valentini inspects the wrecked wing of an aircraft during the visit to Horn Island.
2.1 (wings) A pilot’s certificate of ability to fly a plane, indicated by a badge representing a pair of wings: Michael earned his wings as a commercial pilot
More example sentences
  • He gained his wings as a sergeant pilot a year later and was commissioned in 1944.
  • You get the occasional guy who fails just before wings or at wings and it's a bit of a shame because they're so close.
  • After entering the U.S. Air Force, Aldrin earned his pilot wings in 1952.
3A thing resembling or analogous to a wing in form or function, in particular:
3.1 Anatomy A lateral part or projection of an organ or structure.
More example sentences
  • The posterior aspect of the lateral pterygoid plate may be joined to the angular spine of the greater wing by a pterygopetrosal ligament that may calcify.
  • This branch enters the skull through the superior orbital fissure or a small foramen in the greater wing of the sphenoid to anastomose with the ophthalmic artery.
  • If the patient is able to stand erect, the examiner can estimate the height symmetry of the iliac crests by resting his or her hands on the iliac wings.
3.2 Botany A thin membranous appendage of a fruit or seed that is dispersed by the wind.
More example sentences
  • Water is then applied to the seeds to remove the wing from the seed.
  • Once you have picked the seeds and removed the wing just place them in a paper bag and store them in a cool dry place until you are ready for them.
  • The nuts have no seed wings, with which to travel, and are not viable if they simply drop to the ground.
4British A raised part of the body of a car or other vehicle above the wheel.
More example sentences
  • T1 will see readily identifiable versions of everyday saloon cars visually spectacularly modified with big flared wheel arches, wings and bumpers.
  • Automotive Industries recently was shown a more potent Stratus, stripped of its chrome accents but also devoid of any wings or air dams.
  • Body kits, spoilers, wings, decals, bumpers and other accessories are commonly used to customize a car.
5A part of a large building, especially one that projects from the main part: a maternity wing
More example sentences
  • The first floor of the main wing of the building was destroyed and it was believed a chimney at the back of the building may have been left unstable.
  • The Sanctuary's dueling grounds was found at the end of the north wing of the main chamber.
  • The boardwalk guides visitors past another guest cottage and the bedroom wing of the main house.
Synonyms
part, section, side; annexe, extension; North Americanell
6A group within a political party or other organization having particular views or a particular function: a candidate from the liberal wing of the party
More example sentences
  • Ms Reid was a one time member of the Official Republicans movement and later joined Irish Republican Socialist Party, the political wing of the INLA.
  • Rather, the IRA was increasingly recognized as the armed wing of one political party.
  • Will the Republican party be the political wing of the evangelical movement again in 2008?
Synonyms
faction, camp, caucus, arm, side, branch, group, grouping, section, set, clique, coterie, cabal; fringe movement; lobby
7 (the wings) The sides of a theatre stage out of view of the audience.
More example sentences
  • He didn't go on stage, though, but sang from the wings while Beesley mimed onstage.
  • The theatre goes black, and the red curtains part, and go back towards the wings as the stage lights go up to reveal the lobby of a small hotel.
  • She bustled out of the bathroom and headed towards the wings of the stage, where the rest of the choir was waiting.
8(In soccer, rugby, and hockey) the part of the field close to the sidelines.
More example sentences
  • Saints are set to switch Darren Albert from the wing to full-back to offset the absence of Paul Wellens, but Millward also has the option of Anthony Stewart and Sean Hoppe.
  • Nick Barber came onto the wing replacing the centre Smith.
  • El Hamdaoui has variously been described as a striker and capable of playing on both wings, in other words jack-of-all-trades, master of none.
8.1 (also wing forward) An attacking player positioned near to one of the sidelines.
More example sentences
  • The big wing forward was to convert two further frees in the opening quarter while Seamus Lyons landed his first score after a foul on David Cuddy.
  • Although he has been used mainly as a wing forward up to now, he's chosen at full forward for tomorrow's match.
  • As we approach the League final, the famous shout for joy from the wing forward on that day in 1980, when the Rangers beat Renard, is doing the rounds again.
9An air force unit of several squadrons or groups.
More example sentences
  • He has commanded a fighter squadron, two fighter wings, a numbered Air Force and two major commands.
  • The wing commander is responsible for all of his or her wing's squadrons in the recovery and individual and unit training phases.
  • He has commanded a fighter squadron, two fighter wings, and a numbered air force.
9.1The right or left flank of the main body of a battle formation.
More example sentences
  • This was swiftly followed by cavalry actions on both wings, each army's right being victorious and pursuing the enemy from the field.
  • After the victory at Smolensk, Hitler reverted to his old concept of concentrating the main effort on the wings.

verb

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1 [no object, with adverbial of direction] Travel on wings or by aircraft; fly: George satisfied his keen urge to fly by winging homewards with the Royal Air Force
More example sentences
  • They noticed the AA, smoke and shell fire, but it wasn't until a VaI winged over and flashed his meatball that Patriarca knew something was very wrong.
  • A bird the color of rye bread chirped as it winged by and out into the distance until it became a mere dot in the sky.
  • Sports fans are like some new species of migratory bird, season after season winging across the world to some far-flung field to unfurl the flag and imbibe the beer.
Synonyms
1.1Move, travel, or be sent quickly, as if flying: the prize will be winging its way to you soon
More example sentences
  • Yeah, a 30/30 shell winging past a guy's ear will do that.
  • Like, this evening, we were watching a bit of TV when a commercial for the latest volume of Barbra Streisand Greatest Hits had the velvet voice winging through the speakers.
  • It would appear that text messages had been winging back and forth across the Atlantic and Weggie was under orders to, ‘Give him a big kiss on the lips from me.’
Synonyms
1.2 [with object and adverbial of direction] Send or convey (something) quickly, as if by air: just jot down the title on a postcard and wing it to us
More example sentences
  • I've lost my copy (only had it on minidisc) so if anyone out there has this track then wing us one will you.
1.3 [with object] archaic Enable (someone or something) to fly or move rapidly: the convent was at some distance, but fear would wing her steps
More example sentences
  • Horatio, who wants a happier ending for Hamlet than silence, chimes in with a denial of it which gives way to a chorus of singing angels winging Hamlet to heaven.
  • Remember the way the puff of a particular cigarette winged us instantly to that idyll of ‘Marlboro Country.’
2 [with object] Shoot (a bird) in the wing, so as to prevent flight without causing death: one bird was winged for every bird killed
More example sentences
  • The Steps have built an aviary of sorts and have been trying to stock it with any wild birds they can wing with their air rifles.
2.1Wound (someone) superficially, especially in the arm or shoulder.
More example sentences
  • In mid-air, I turn and squeeze off three shots, winging him.
  • He did some shooting at Gardener in yard but only winged him because Mr Big Star is drinking too much.
  • In a split second Jerome, whose anger had begun to build, flashed out his gun and fired, but Selby dropped to one knee and fired his gun, winging him.
Synonyms
wound, graze, hit, clip
3 (wing it) informal Speak or act without preparation; improvise: a little preparation puts you ahead of the job-seekers who try to wing it
[from theatrical slang, originally meaning 'to play a role without properly knowing the text' (either by relying on a prompter in the wings or by studying the part in the wings between scenes)]
More example sentences
  • Geminis thrive on the exhilaration of playing different personas - winging it, getting inventive and improvising.
  • Unfortunately I didn't really do any research or preparation, just thinking somehow I could wing it.
  • Women tend to spend way too much time preparing instead of just winging it.
Synonyms

Origin

Middle English (originally in the plural): from Old Norse vængir, plural of vængr.

Phrases

in the wings

Ready to do something or to be used at the appropriate time: older councillors were replaced by technocrats waiting in the wings
More example sentences
  • Now he is waiting in the wings again, ready to pounce and deliver for Kildare, if he is called to do so.
  • There was no moderate force ready in the wings capable of weathering the storm.
  • Teens love to recycle denim, and we've got a couple of ideas in the wings ready to roll.

on the wing

(Of a bird) in flight.
More example sentences
  • I occasionally walk the High Street early on weekend mornings when you can hear birds on the wing.
  • They are certainly magnificent birds who live, sleep and feed on the wing.
  • Hen harriers rarely fly in wet weather, but in dry conditions the birds spend much of the day on the wing.

on a wing and a prayer

With only the slightest chance of success.
More example sentences
  • To ignore this is to run your business on a wing and a prayer, which is pure chance and takes your destiny out of your own hands.
  • I hear that the mechanisms for transferring you from one provider to another are incredibly flaky and the whole thing is held together on a wing and a prayer.
  • ‘Maybe it sometimes looked all right from the outside, but it was all on a wing and a prayer,’ says Andrew.

spread (or stretch or try) one's wings

Extend one’s activities and interests or start new ones.
More example sentences
  • Other European powers, such as Germany, were spreading their wings and extending their interests.
  • Let her spread her wings and expand her horizons on her next outing.
  • Armagh wiped them out in the provincial decider and then Fermanagh stopped them from stretching their wings in the qualifiers.

take wing

(Of a bird, insect, or other winged creature) fly away.
More example sentences
  • Meanwhile, overhead, several woodcreepers cling to tree trunks, ready to snatch insects that take wing to avoid being trampled.
  • The crow preened its feathers and took wing again, gliding away into the trees.
  • My foot encountered a twig, and it snapped loudly in my hearing, causing a flock of black creatures that had been roosting in a neighboring tree to take wing.
Depart swiftly; flee: Louise took wing for America
More example sentences
  • Novelist and aesthetician, she lived in her mother's Florentine villa with her, but took wing for a season each year to spend some time in London, where she was an accepted figure on the literary scene.
  • It was here, amid the wilderness of the Forest of Dean (the inspiration for the Forbidden Forest) that Rowling's imagination took wing.
  • But it was when she first introduced him to opera that his interest really took wing and became a passion.

under one's wing

In or into one’s protective care: Simon’s uncle had taken him under his wing
More example sentences
  • On the evidence it appears as though Anne Kelly, Jennifer's mother, took Jennifer's two boys under her wing and cared for them until Jennifer was finally able to resume her motherly duties on a full-time basis.
  • Krystal and I had sort of taken him under our wing and protected him from the assholes who disliked him.
  • There were times when you could look out your own bedroom window and envy the other kids outside who got to play whenever they wanted, while your mom kept you in, under her wing, to protect you.

Derivatives

wingless

adjective
More example sentences
  • They must cover 12 miles a day, and they will see no living creature: Antarctica sustains no terrestrial life, unless you count a wingless midge reputed to hover in tiny rock cracks.
  • Head lice are small wingless flat insects which move from one person to another by direct head-to-head contact and live off human blood in the scalp.
  • Lice are wingless and they cannot jump, unlike fleas, but instead they spread through physical contact.

wing-like

adjective
More example sentences
  • The sleeves, supported by a stainless steel structure, form wing-like shoulders, making the model appear like an angelic carnival dancer who stumbled into a giant vat of shocking pink paint.
  • Two long, wing-like sections meet at a central pillar, which stands on a broad triangular base inscribed with letters that describe the award.
  • Seed is cheap, so insert some round the edge of a largeish pot of good compost, sit back, and watch the wing-like shoots emerge.

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