a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m | n | o | p | q | r | s | t | u | v | w | x | y | z |



A young bird just fledged.


A covering of feathers.


Furnishing with feathers for flight.

FLEE, v.i. [pret. fled. Sax. flean, fleon, fleogan; G. fliehen.]

  1. To run with rapidity, as from danger; to attempt to escape; to hasten from danger or expected evil. The enemy fled at the first fire. Arise, take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt. Matth. ii.
  2. To depart; to leave; to hasten away. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James iv.
  3. To avoid; to keep at a distance from. Flee fornication; flee from idolatry. 1 Cor. vi. 10. To flee the question or from the question, in legislation, is said of a legislator who, when a question is to be put to the house, leaves his seat to avoid the dilemma of voting against his conscience, or giving an unpopular vote. In the phrases in which this verb appears to be transitive, there is really an ellipsis.

FLEECE, n. [Sax. fleos, flys, flese; D. vlies; G. fliess; most probably from shearing or stripping, as in Dutch the word signifies a film or membrane, as well as a fleece. The verb to fleece seems to favor the sense of stripping. See Class Ls, No. 25, 28, 30. But Qu. L. vellus, from vello, to pluck or tear off. Varro. See Class Bl. In Russ. volos is hair or wool, written also vlas. It was probably the practice to pluck off wool, before it was to shear it.]

The coat of wool shorn from a sheep at one time.

FLEECE, v.t.

  1. To shear off a covering or growth of wool.
  2. To strip of money or property; to take from, by severe exactions, under color of law or justice, or pretext of necessity, or by virtue of authority. Arbitrary princes fleece their subjects; and clients complain that they are sometimes fleeced by their lawyers. This word is rarely or never used for plundering in war by a licentious soldiery; but is properly used to express a stripping by contributions levied on a conquered people.
  3. To spread over as with wool; to make white. Thomson.


Furnished with a fleece or with fleeces; as, a sheep is well fleeced.


Stripped by severe exactions.


Having no fleece.


One who strips or takes by severe exactions


Stripping of money or property by severe demands of fees, taxes or contributions.


  1. Covered with wool; woolly; as, a fleecy flock. Prior.
  2. Resembling wool or a fleece; soft; complicated; as, fleecy snow; fleecy locks; fleecy hosiery.


  1. Derision or mockery, expressed by words or looks. And mark the fleers, the gibes, and notable scorns. Shak.
  2. A grin of civility. A treacherous fleer on the face of deceivers. South.

FLEER, v.i. [Scot. flyre, or fleyr, to make wry faces, to leer, to look surly; Ice. flyra. In D. gluuren signifies to leer, to peep; Sw. plira; Dan. plirendc, ogling, leering. This word seems to be leer, with a prefix, and leer presents probably the primary sense.]

  1. To deride; to sneer; to mock; to gibe; to make a wry face in contempt, or to grin in scorn; as, to fleer and flout. Covered with an antic face, / To fleer and scorn at our solemnity. Shak.
  2. To leer; to grin with an air of civility. Burton.

FLEER, v.t.

To mock; to flout at. Beaum.


A mocker; a fawner.


Deriding; mocking; counterfeiting an air of civility.


In a fleering manner.

FLEET, a. [Ice. fliotr; Ir. luath, swift; Russ. letayu, to fly; Eng. to flit. If the last consonant is radical, this word seems to be allied to D. vlieden, to flee, to fly, and possibly the Shemitic פלט; but from the Ethiopic it would appear that the latter word is our split, the sense being to divide or separate.]

  1. Swift of pace; moving or able to move with rapidity; nimble; light and quick in motion, or moving with lightness and celerity; as, a fleet horse or dog.
  2. Moving with velocity; as, fleet winds.
  3. Light; superficially fruitful; or thin; not penetrating deep; as soil. Mortimer.
  4. Skimming the surface. Mortimer.

FLEET, n.1

in English names, [Sax. fleot.] denotes a flood, a creek or inlet, a bay or estuary, or a river; as in Fleet-street, North-flete, Fleet-prison.

FLEET, n.2 [Sax. flota, fliet; G. flotte; D. vloot; Sw. flotte D. flode; Fr. flotte. Fleet and float seem to be allied. But whether they are formed from the root of flow, or whether the last consonant is radical, is not obvious. See Float.]

A navy or squadron of ships; number of ships in company, whether ships of war, or of commerce. It more generally signifies ships of war.

FLEET, v.i.

  1. To fly swiftly; to hasten; to flit as a light substance. To fleet away is to vanish. How all the other passions fleet to air. Shak.
  2. To be in a transient state.
  3. To float.

FLEET, v.t.

  1. To skim the surface; to pass over rapidly; as, a ship that fleets the gulf. Spenser.
  2. To pass lightly, or in mirth and joy; as, to fleet away time. [Not used.] Shak.
  3. To skim milk. [Local, in England.] The verb in the transitive form is rarely or never used in America.


Swift of foot; running or able to run with rapidity. Shak.


  1. Passing rapidly; flying with velocity.
  2. adj. Transient; not durable; as, the fleeting hours or moments.