Etymology
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wing (n.)

late 12c., wenge, "forelimb fitted for flight of a bird or bat," also the part of some insects resembling a wing in form or function, from Old Norse vængr "wing of a bird, aisle, etc." (cognate with Danish and Swedish vinge "wing"), of unknown origin, perhaps from a Proto-Germanic *we-ingjaz, suffixed form of PIE root *we- "blow" (source of Old English wawan "to blow." Replaced Old English feðra (plural) "wings" (see feather). The meaning "either of two divisions of a political party, army, etc." is first recorded c. 1400; theatrical sense is from 1790.

The slang sense of earn (one's) wings is 1940s, from the wing-shaped badges awarded to air cadets on graduation. To be under (someone's) wing "protected by (someone)" is recorded from early 13c. Phrase on a wing and a prayer is title of a 1943 song about landing a damaged aircraft.

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wing (v.)
c. 1600, "take flight;" 1610s, "fit with wings," from wing (n.). Meaning "shoot a bird in the wing" is from 1802, with figurative extensions to wounds suffered in non-essential parts. Verbal phrase wing it (1885) is said to be from a theatrical slang sense of an actor learning his lines in the wings before going onstage, or else not learning them at all and being fed by a prompter in the wings; but perhaps it is simply an image of a baby bird taking flight from the nest for the first time (the phrase is attested in this sense from 1875). Related: Winged; winging.
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pigeon-wing (n.)

1807 as the name of a brisk, fancy step in dancing, skating, etc.; see pigeon + wing (n.).

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left wing (n.)
also (as an adjective) left-wing, 1871 in the political sense (1530s in a military formation sense), from left (adj.) + wing (n.). Related: Left-winger.
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lace-wing (n.)
also lacewing, type of insect, 1847; see lace (n.) + wing (n.). Earlier was lace-winged fly (1826), and the shorter for might be from this.
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left-wing (n.)
also (as an adjective) leftwing; 1530s of armies, 1882 in team sports, 1884 in politics; see left (adj.) + wing (n.).
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winged (adj.)
late 14c., past-participle adjective from wing (v.).
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wingspan (n.)
also wing-span, 1894, from wing (n.) + span (n.1).
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waxwing (n.)
1817, from wax (n.) + wing (n.). So called for appendages at the tips of its feathers which look like red sealing-wax.
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wingman (n.)
pilot of the plane beside the lead aircraft in a formation, 1943 (earlier as a football position), from wing (n.) + man (n.). With figurative extensions, including the dating-sidekick one that was in use by 2006.
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