"act of flying," Old English flyht "a flying, act or power of flying," from Proto-Germanic *flukhtiz (source also of Dutch vlucht "flight of birds," Old Norse flugr, Old High German flug, German Flug "flight"), from Proto-Germanic *flugti-, suffixed form of PIE root *pleu- "to flow."
Spelling altered late 14c. from Middle English fliht (see fight (v.)). Sense of "swift motion" is from mid-13c.. Meaning "an instance of flight" is 1785, originally of ballooning. Sense of "a number of things passing through the air together" is from mid-13c. Meaning "series of stairs between landings" is from 1703. Figuratively, "an excursion" of fancy, imagination, etc., from 1660s. Flight-path is from 1908; flight-test (v.) from 1919; flight-simulator from 1947 (originally in rocketry); flight-attendant from 1946.
"act of fleeing," c. 1200, flihht, not found in Old English, but presumed to have existed and cognate with Old Saxon fluht, Old Frisian flecht "act of fleeing," Dutch vlucht, Old High German fluht, German Flucht, Old Norse flotti, Gothic þlauhs, from Proto-Germanic *flugti-, suffixed form of PIE root *pleu- "to flow." To put (someone or something) to flight "rout, defeat" is from late 14c., the earlier verb form do o' flight (early 13c.).
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to flow."
It forms all or part of: fletcher; fledge; flee; fleet (adj.) "swift;" fleet (n.2) "group of ships under one command;" fleet (v.) "to float, drift; flow, run;" fleeting; flight (n.1) "act of flying;" flight (n.2) "act of fleeing;" flit; float; flood; flotsam; flotilla; flow; flue; flugelhorn; fluster; flutter; fly (v.1) "move through the air with wings;" fly (n.) "winged insect;" fowl; plover; Pluto; plutocracy; pluvial; pneumo-; pneumonia; pneumonic; pulmonary.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit plavate "navigates, swims;" Greek plynein "to wash," plein "to navigate," ploein "to float, swim," plotos "floating, navigable," pyelos "trough, basin;" Latin plovere "to rain," pluvius "rainy;" Armenian luanam "I wash;" Old English flowan "to flow;" Old Church Slavonic plovo "to flow, navigate;" Lithuanian pilu, pilti "to pour out," plauju, plauti "to swim, rinse."
word-forming element meaning "one who dreads, fears, or hates," from French -phobe, from Latin -phobus, from Greek -phobos "fearing," from phobos "fear, panic, flight," phobein "put to flight, frighten" (see phobia).
c. 1600, "place on a shore where persons or goods are landed from boats," verbal noun from land (v.1). In architecture, "part of a floor adjoining a flight of stairs," also "resting place interrupting a flight of stairs," 1789. Landing place is from 1510s.
1570s, "discharge of a number of guns at once," from French volee "flight" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *volta, fem. noun from Latin volatum, past participle of volare "to fly" (see volant). Sporting sense of "a return of the ball before it hits the ground" (originally in tennis) is from 1851, from notion of hitting the ball in flight.