Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


Then there was Bernard, who excommunicates the flies, and they drop dead.

He's bewitched me so's I have to kill whole families of flies for him to eat.

I can't keep the horse stan'in' here till he's all eat up with flies.

The flies repeated the autumn-leaf effect, and returned to the rear peak.

When Brown Alice is given her head she flies faster than the news.

She flies Dutch colours, but who can say whence she really comes?

He said, "I am aweary, aweary, I wish these flies were dead."

"There's no flies to be had at this time of night, miss," he said, civilly enough.

They were quite tiny, and their horses were about the size of flies.

On their gauntleted hands they held hunting falcons as large as flies.


slang, "clever, alert, wide awake," late 18c., perhaps from fly (n.) on the notion of the insect being hard to catch. Other theories, however, trace it to fledge or flash. Slang use in 1990s might be a revival or a reinvention.