European bird of prey, inferior hawk (Milvus ictinus, but applied elsewhere to similar birds), Old English cyta, probably imitative of its cry (compare ciegan "to call," German Kauz "screech owl"). Of persons who prey on others, 1550s.
The toy kite, a light frame covered with paper or cloth, is first so-called 1660s, from its way of hovering in the air like a bird. The dismissive invitation to go fly a kite is attested by 1942, American English, probably tracing to the popular song of the same name (lyrics by Johnny Burke), sung by Bing Crosby in "The Star Maker" (1939):
Go fly a kite and tie your troubles to the tail
They'll be blown away by a merry gale,
Go fly a kite and toss your worries to the wind
And they won't come back, they'll be too chagrined.
1540s, "a blow, stroke," from swoop (v.). Meaning "the sudden pouncing of a rapacious bird on its prey" is 1605, from Shakespeare:
Oh, Hell-Kite! All? What, All my pretty Chickens, and their Damme, At one fell swoope? ["Macbeth," IV.iii.219]
also pewit, "lapwing" (still the usual name for it in Scotland), also applied to various other birds, 1520s, imitative of its cry. Compare Flemish piewit-voghel; Dutch piewit, kiewit; Middle Low German kivit; German kiwitz; Russian chibezu "lapwing;" also see kibitz. Middle English had peuen, of a kite, "to cry plaintively" (early 15c.) and pewewe was given as the sound of the plaintive cry of some bird (mid-15c.).
Meaning "go at full speed" is from c. 1300. In reference to flags, 1650s. Transitive sense "cause to move or float in air" (as a flag, kite, etc.) is from 1739; sense of "convey through the air" ("Fly Me to the Moon") is from 1864. Related: Flew; flied (baseball); flown; flying. Slang phrase fly off the handle "lose one's cool" dates from 1825.