Word of the Day



1. one of the parts on a bird, insect, or bat that move up and down and allow it to fly. Birds have two wings, but insects have either two or four wings.
a. the meat from the wing of a chicken etc, eaten as food
2. one of the long flat parts on both sides of a plane that allow it to fly

Origin and usage

The word wing likely derives from the Old Norse word ‘vængr’ meaning ‘wing of a bird’. It first appeared in English sometime in the late 12th century. While the use of wing originally referred exclusively to birds, its meaning has since been extended to refer to insects, bats and aircraft.


The word wing has many different meanings, but the most frequent is when it’s used to describe the part of an animal or a plane that helps it to fly. Birds and aircraft typically have two wings, while insects can have two pairs of wings, for a total of four.

In the natural world, wings have evolved in reptiles, mammals, insects and, of course, birds. Using their strong muscles and light bones to power their wings, these animals are able to thrust their bodies into the sky. Because of their specific shape, wings force fast-moving air to pass over them, catching slow-moving air beneath them in a process that creates ‘lift’. This is the scientific principle of aerodynamics which is used in the design of aeroplane wings.


“You were born with wings. You are not meant for crawling, so don’t. You have wings. Learn to use them and fly.”


“No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.”

(William Blake)

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

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