The Past Tense of Fly: Here’s What It Is and How to Use It

If you have ever been curious about the correct english grammar past tense of fly was, this article will clear that up plus give you a look into the history of the english verb, the definition, and everything else you could want to learn about the word.

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

What is the Definition of the Irregular Verb Fly?

The word fly is defined as:

Intransitive verb form:

  • to move in or pass through the air with wings
    • bees flying around the hive
  • to move through the air or before the wind or through outer space
    • bullets flying in all directions
  • to float, wave, or soar in the air
    • flags flying at half-mast
  • to take flight: flee
    • was forced to fly for his life when his enemies came into power
  • to fade and disappear: vanish
    • mists flying before the morning sun
  • to move, pass, or spread quickly
    • rumors were flying
  • to be moved with sudden extreme emotion
    • flew into a rage
  • to seem to pass quickly
    • the time simply flew
  • to become expended or dissipated rapidly
    • After he became established in the town, his inheritance flew.
  • to operate or travel in an airplane or spacecraft
    • They flew to Florida for their vacation.
  • to work successfully: win popular acceptance
    • knew … a pure human-rights approach would not fly — Charles Brydon

Transitive regular verb “fly”: 

  • to cause to fly, float, or hang in the air
    • flying a kite
  • to operate (something, such as a balloon, aircraft, rocket, or spacecraft) in flight
  • to journey over or through by flying
    • flew the Atlantic
  • to flee or escape from
    • The bird had flown its cage.
  • Avoid, shun
    • fly such a talkative woman
  • to transport by aircraft or spacecraft
    • He was the third person to fly supplies to the disaster area.
  • fly at 
  • to assail suddenly and violently
    • He flew at me in a rage because he couldn’t learn english, that’s how I knew it was only conditional friendship.
  • fly blind
  • to fly a plane solely by instruments
  • fly high
  • to be elated
    • He/she was flying high after winning the contest and seeing infinitive possibilities.
  • fly in the face of or fly in the teeth of
  • to stand or act forthrightly or brazenly in defiance or contradiction of
    • His explanation flies in the face of the evidence.

How Do You Conjugate fly?

Here are the other noun and verb conjugations of the word fly:

Base Form: Fly
Simple Present Tense/ Present ParticipleSimple Past TenseFuture
I flyFlewAm flying
You flyFlewAre flying
He, she, it flysFlewIs flying
We flyFlewAre flying
They flyFlewAre flying

The History and Origin of the Word

The word fly has been used since at least the 12th century. It comes from Old English “flēogan”  and then Middle English language word “flien”

Is Flown a Word?

Flown is a correct word, it is the past participle of the word fly. 

Synonyms for Fly

  • Aviate – to navigate the air (as in an airplane)
  • Glide – to move smoothly, continuously, and effortlessly, to go or pass imperceptibly
  • Plane – to fly while keeping the wings motionless, skim across the surface of the water, to travel by airplane
  • Soar – to fly aloft or about, to rise or increase dramatically (as in position, value, or price)
  • Wing – one of the movable feathered or membranous paired appendages by means of which a bird, bat, or insect is able to fly

Examples of the Word in context


Next time you need to write the word fly, you will be well prepared for everything you need to know what it is and how to use it efficiently. You should feel confident with the different conjugations, the history of the word, and the definition.


  1. “Fly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster,