Words related to *pleu-
Old English fleon, flion "take flight, fly from, avoid, escape" (contracted class II strong verb; past tense fleah, past participle flogen), from Proto-Germanic *fleuhanan "to run away" (source also of Old High German fliohan, Old Norse flöja, Old Frisian flia, Dutch vlieden, German fliehen, Gothic þliuhan "to flee"), probably from PIE *pleuk-, extended form of root *pleu- "to flow," but Boutkan is not convinced. Also compare fly (v.2).
Weak past tense and past participle fled emerged in Middle English under influence of Scandinavian. Old English had a transitive form, geflieman "put to flight, banish, drive away," which came in handy in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Related: fled; Fleeing.
Old English fleot "a ship, a raft, a floating vessel," also, collectively, "means of sea travel; boats generally," from fleotan "to float, swim," from Proto-Germanic *fleutanan(source also of Old Saxon fliotan, Old Frisian fliata, Old Norse fljta, Old High German fliozzan, Middle Dutch vlieten "to flow"), from PIE *pleud-, extended form of root *pleu- "to flow."
The sense of "naval force, group of ships under one command" is in late Old English. The more usual Old English word was flota "a ship," also "a fleet; a sailor." The fleet for "the navy" is attested by 1712. The Old English word also meant "estuary, inlet, flow of water," especially the one into the Thames near Ludgate Hill, which lent its name to Fleet Street (home of newspaper and magazine houses, hence its use metonymically for "the English press" since at least 1882) and Fleet prison (long used for debtors).
Meaning "to glide away like a stream, vanish imperceptibly" is from c. 1200; hence "to fade, to vanish" (1570s). Related: Fleeted; fleeting.
"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.
c. 1200, flitten, flytten, flutten "convey, move (a thing) from one place to another, take, carry away," also intransitive, "go away, move, migrate," from Old Norse flytja "to remove, bring," from Proto-Germanic *flutjan- "to float," from extended form of PIE root *pleu- "to flow." Intransitive sense "move lightly and swiftly" is from early 15c.; from c. 1500 as "remove from one habitation to another" (originally Northern English and Scottish)
Theire desire ... is to goe to theire newe masters eyther on a Tewsday, or on a Thursday; for ... they say Munday flitte, Neaver sitte. [Henry Best, farming & account book, 1641]
Related: Flitted; flitting. As a noun, "a flitting, a removal," from 1835.