AskDefine | Define wing

The Collaborative Dictionary

Wing \Wing\, n. [OE. winge, wenge; probably of Scand. origin; cf. Dan. & Sw. vinge, Icel. v[ae]ngr.] [1913 Webster]
One of the two anterior limbs of a bird, pterodactyl, or bat. They correspond to the arms of man, and are usually modified for flight, but in the case of a few species of birds, as the ostrich, auk, etc., the wings are used only as an assistance in running or swimming. [1913 Webster] As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings. --Deut. xxxii.
[1913 Webster] Note: In the wing of a bird the long quill feathers are in series. The primaries are those attached to the ulnar side of the hand; the secondaries, or wing coverts, those of the forearm: the scapulars, those that lie over the humerus; and the bastard feathers, those of the short outer digit. See Illust. of Bird, and Plumage. [1913 Webster]
Any similar member or instrument used for the purpose of flying. Specifically: (Zool.) (a) One of the two pairs of upper thoracic appendages of most hexapod insects. They are broad, fanlike organs formed of a double membrane and strengthened by chitinous veins or nervures. (b) One of the large pectoral fins of the flying fishes. [1913 Webster]
Passage by flying; flight; as, to take wing. [1913 Webster] Light thickens; and the crow Makes wing to the rooky wood. --Shak. [1913 Webster]
Motive or instrument of flight; means of flight or of rapid motion. [1913 Webster] Fiery expedition be my wing. --Shak. [1913 Webster]
Anything which agitates the air as a wing does, or which is put in winglike motion by the action of the air, as a fan or vane for winnowing grain, the vane or sail of a windmill, etc. [1913 Webster]
An ornament worn on the shoulder; a small epaulet or shoulder knot. [1913 Webster]
Any appendage resembling the wing of a bird or insect in shape or appearance. Specifically: (a) (Zool.) One of the broad, thin, anterior lobes of the foot of a pteropod, used as an organ in swimming. (b) (Bot.) Any membranaceous expansion, as that along the sides of certain stems, or of a fruit of the kind called samara. (c) (Bot.) Either of the two side petals of a papilionaceous flower. [1913 Webster]
One of two corresponding appendages attached; a sidepiece. Hence: (a) (Arch.) A side building, less than the main edifice; as, one of the wings of a palace. (b) (Fort.) The longer side of crownworks, etc., connecting them with the main work. (c) (Hort.) A side shoot of a tree or plant; a branch growing up by the side of another. [Obs.] (d) (Mil.) The right or left division of an army, regiment, etc. (e) (Naut.) That part of the hold or orlop of a vessel which is nearest the sides. In a fleet, one of the extremities when the ships are drawn up in line, or when forming the two sides of a triangle. --Totten. (f) One of the sides of the stags in a theater. [1913 Webster]
(Aeronautics) Any surface used primarily for supporting a flying machine in flight, especially the flat or slightly curved planes on a heavier-than-air aircraft which provide most of the lift. In fixed-wing aircraft there are usually two main wings fixed on opposite sides of the fuselage. Smaller wings are typically placed near the tail primarily for stabilization, but may be absent in certain kinds of aircraft. Helicopters usually have no fixed wings, the lift being supplied by the rotating blade. [PJC]
One of two factions within an organization, as a political party, which are opposed to each other; as, right wing or left wing. [PJC]
An administrative division of the air force or of a naval air group, consisting of a certain number of airplanes and the personnel associated with them. [PJC] On the wing. (a) Supported by, or flying with, the wings another. On the wings of the wind, with the utmost velocity. Under the wing of, or Under the wings of, under the care or protection of. Wing and wing (Naut.), with sails hauled out on either side; -- said of a schooner, or her sails, when going before the wind with the foresail on one side and the mainsail on the other; also said of a square-rigged vessel which has her studding sails set. Cf. Goosewinged. Wing case (Zool.), one of the anterior wings of beetles, and of some other insects, when thickened and used to protect the hind wings; an elytron; -- called also wing cover. Wing covert (Zool.), one of the small feathers covering the bases of the wing quills. See Covert, n.,
Wing gudgeon (Mach.), an iron gudgeon for the end of a wooden axle, having thin, broad projections to prevent it from turning in the wood. See Illust. of Gudgeon. Wing shell (Zool.), wing case of an insect. Wing stroke, the stroke or sweep of a wing. Wing transom (Naut.), the uppermost transom of the stern; -- called also main transom. --J. Knowles. [1913 Webster]
Wing \Wing\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Winged; p. pr. & vb. n. Winging.]
To furnish with wings; to enable to fly, or to move with celerity. [1913 Webster] Who heaves old ocean, and whowings the storms. --Pope. [1913 Webster] Living, to wing with mirth the weary hours. --Longfellow. [1913 Webster]
To supply with wings or sidepieces. [1913 Webster] The main battle, whose puissance on either side Shall be well winged with our chiefest horse. --Shak. [1913 Webster]
To transport by flight; to cause to fly. [1913 Webster] I, an old turtle, Will wing me to some withered bough. --Shak. [1913 Webster]
To move through in flight; to fly through. [1913 Webster] There's not an arrow wings the sky But fancy turns its point to him. --Moore. [1913 Webster]
To cut off the wings of or to wound in the wing; to disable a wing of; as, to wing a bird; also, [fig.] to wound the arm of a person. [1913 Webster +PJC] To wing a flight, to exert the power of flying; to fly. [1913 Webster]

Word Net



1 a movable organ for flying (one of a pair)
2 one of the horizontal airfoils on either side of the fuselage of an airplane
3 a stage area out of sight of the audience [syn: offstage, backstage]
4 a unit of military aircraft
5 the side of military or naval formation; "they attacked the enemy's right flank" [syn: flank]
6 a hockey player stationed in a forward positin on either side
7 the wing of a fowl; "he preferred the drumsticks to the wings"
8 a barrier that surrounds the wheels of a vehicle to block splashing water or mud; "in England they call a fender a wing" [syn: fender]
9 an addition that extends a main building [syn: annex, annexe, extension] v : travel through the air; be airborne; "Man cannot fly" [syn: fly]

Moby Thesaurus

KP, L, act drop, addition, administration, aeroplane, affiliate, age group, air arm, air corps, air force, air service, airlift, airplane, annex, appendage, arm, army, army group, asbestos, asbestos board, auspices, backdrop, balloon, band, battalion, batten, battery, battle group, be airborne, bear, bevy, block, body, border, bough, branch, branch office, breakaway group, breast, brigade, bugger, bulge, bunch, cabal, cadre, camp, care, carry, cast, castrate, caucus, chapter, charge, chicken foot, clique, cloth, cohort, column, combat command, combat team, company, complement, conduct, contingent, convey, corps, coterie, coulisse, counterweight, covey, crew, cripple, crowd, cruise, cure, curtain, curtain board, custodianship, custody, cyclorama, dark meat, de-energize, debilitate, decor, detachment, detail, disable, disenable, division, drain, drift, drop, drop curtain, drumstick, ell, emasculate, enfeeble, escadrille, ethnic group, expansion, extension, faction, ferry, field army, field train, file, fire curtain, flat, fleet, flight, flipper, flit, fly, flying column, freight, gang, garrison, giblets, glide, governance, government, group, grouping, groupment, guardianship, guidance, hamstring, hand, hands, hanging, hobble, hop, hors de combat, hover, hydroplane, imp, in-group, inactivate, incapacitate, interest, interest group, jet, joint, junta, jurisdiction, keeping, kibosh, kitchen police, lame, leg, legion, lift, limb, link, lobe, lobule, local, lodge, lug, maim, management, manhandle, maniple, member, ministry, minority group, mob, movement, navigate, neck, offshoot, organ, organization, out-group, outfit, oversight, oyster, pack, party, pastorage, pastorate, pastorship, patronage, peer group, phalanx, pinion, platoon, political party, posse, post, pressure group, projection, prolongation, protectorship, protrusion, protuberance, put, queer, queer the works, rag, ramification, rank, regiment, runner, sabotage, safe hands, sail, sailplane, salon, scene, scenery, scion, screen, seaplane, sect, section, set, side, side scene, silent majority, soar, spike, splinter, splinter group, spray, sprig, spur, squad, squadron, stable, stage screw, stewardship, strategic air force, string, sweep, switch, tab, tableau, tactical air force, tactical unit, tail, take, take the air, take wing, task force, team, teaser, tendril, thigh, tormentor, tote, train, transformation, transformation scene, transport, tribe, troop, troupe, turkey foot, tutelage, twig, unfit, unit, vocal minority, volplane, waft, ward, wardenship, wardship, watch and ward, weaken, whisk, white meat, wingcut, wishbone, woodcut, wreck


Alternative spellings


  • /wɪŋ/
  • /wIN/
  • Rhymes: -ɪŋ


From vængr.


  1. An appendage of an animal's (bird, bat, insect) body that enables it to fly.
  2. In the context of "slang": Human arm.
  3. Part of an airplane that produces the lift for rising into the air.
  4. Part of a building, an extension from the main building
  5. Part of a huge room.
  6. A fraction of a political movement. Usually implies a position apart from the mainstream center position.
  7. A military air unit, smaller than a division but larger than a group or squadron.
  8. A panel of a car which encloses the wheel area, especially the front wheels.
  9. In the context of "nautical": A platform on either side of the bridge of a vessel, normally found in pairs.
  10. In the context of "field hockey|ice hockey|football": A position in several field games on either side of the field.


  • fender (US, panel of a car)
  • guard (Aus, panel of a car)


part of an animal
  • Croatian: krilo
  • Czech: křídlo
  • Galician: á
  • Finnish: siipi
  • Hebrew: אברה (evra)
  • Hindi: पंख (pankh)
  • Hungarian: szárny
  • Italian: ala
  • Japanese: (, tsubasa)
  • Kurdish: باڵ
  • Latvian: spārns
  • Russian: крыло
  • Spanish: ala
  • Swedish: vinge
human arm
  • Finnish: siipi
part of an airplane
  • Croatian: krilo
  • Finnish: siipi
  • Hungarian: szárny
  • Italian: ala
  • Japanese: (, tsubasa)
  • Kurdish:
  • Latvian: spārns
  • Russian: крыло
  • Swedish: vinge
extension of a building
  • Croatian: krilo
  • Finnish: siipi
  • Hungarian: szárny
  • Italian: ala
  • Latvian: spārns
  • Russian: крыло, флигель
  • Swedish: flygel
part of room
fraction of a political movement
  • Croatian: krilo
  • Finnish: siipi
  • Japanese: (, -yoku)
  • Latvian: spārns
  • Russian: крыло
  • Swedish: flygel
air force unit
  • Finnish: lennosto
  • Japanese: (, hikōtai)
panel enclosing wheel area
extension of a ship's bridge
position in hockey etc.
  • Finnish: laitahyökkääjä, laituri


  1. To injure slightly (as with a gunshot), especially in the arm.
  2. To fly.
  3. wing it: To act or speak extemporaneously; to improvise.


To injure slightly
To fly
  • Bulgarian: летя
  • German: fliegen
  • Interlingua: volar
  • Kurdish:
  • Portuguese: voar
To be extemporaneous
The science of wings is one of the principal applications of the science of aerodynamics.
In order for a wing to produce lift it has to be at a positive angle to the airflow. In that case a low pressure region is generated on the upper surface of the wing which draws the air above the wing downwards towards what would otherwise be a void after the wing had passed. On the underside of the wing a high pressure region forms accelerating the air there downwards out of the path of the oncoming wing. The pressure difference between these two regions produces an upwards force on the wing, called lift.
The pressure differences, the acceleration of the air and the lift on the wing are intrinsically one mechanism. It is therefore possible to derive the value of one by calculating another. For example lift can be calculated by reference to the pressure differences or by calculating the energy used to accelerate the air. Both approaches will result in the same answer if done correctly. Debates over which mathematical approach is the more convenient can be wrongly perceived as differences of opinion about the principles of flight and often create unnecessary confusion in the mind of the layman.
For a more detailed coverage see lift (force).
A common misconception is that it is the shape of the wing that is essential to generate lift by having a longer path on the top rather than the underside. This is not the case, thin flat wings can produce lift efficiently and aircraft with cambered wings can fly inverted as long as the nose of the aircraft is pointed high enough so as to present the wing at a positive angle of attack to the airflow.
The common aerofoil shape of wings is due to a large number of factors many of them not at all related to aerodynamic issues, for example wings need strength and thus need to be thick enough to contain structural members. They also need room to contain items such as fuel, control mechanisms and retracted undercarriage. The primary aerodynamic input to the wing’s cross sectional shape is the need to keep the air flowing smoothly over the entire surface for the most efficient operation. In particular, there is a requirement to prevent the low-pressure gradient that accelerates the air down the back of the wing becoming too great and effectively “sucking” the air off the surface of the wing. If this happens the wing surface from that point backwards becomes substantially ineffective.
The shape chosen by the designer is a compromise dependent upon the intended operational ranges of airspeed, angles of attack and wing loadings. Usually aircraft wings have devices, such as flaps, which allow the pilot to modify shape and surface area of the wing to be able to change its operating characteristics in flight.
The science of wings applies in other areas beyond conventional fixed-wing aircraft, including:
  • Helicopters which use a rotating wing with a variable pitch or angle to provide a directional force
  • The space shuttle which uses its wings only for lift during its descent
  • Some racing cars, especially Formula One cars, which use upside-down wings to give cars greater adhesion at high speeds over 100mph.
  • Sailing boats which use sails as vertical wings with variable fullness and direction to move across water.
Structures with the same purpose as wings, but designed to operate in liquid media, are generally called fins or hydroplanes, with hydrodynamics as the governing science. Applications arise in craft such as hydrofoils and submarines. Sailing boats use both fins and wings.

External links

wing in Amharic: ክንፍ
wing in Arabic: جناح
wing in Bulgarian: Крило
wing in Catalan: Ala (aeronàutica)
wing in Czech: Křídlo
wing in Danish: Vinge
wing in German: Flügel
wing in Spanish: Ala (aeronáutica)
wing in Persian: بال
wing in Finnish: Siipi
wing in French: Voilure (aéronautique)
wing in Croatian: Krilo zrakoplova
wing in Indonesian: Sayap
wing in Italian: Ala (aeronautica)
wing in Hebrew: כנף (מטוס)
wing in Hungarian: Szárny
wing in Dutch: Vleugel (vliegtuig)
wing in Japanese: 翼
wing in Occitan (post 1500): Ala
wing in Polish: Skrzydło ptaka
wing in Portuguese: Asa
wing in Russian: Крыло
wing in Slovenian: Krilo
wing in Swedish: Vinge
wing in Turkish: Kanat
wing in Chinese: 机翼
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