also flier, mid-15c., "that which flies, thing or creature that flies," agent noun of fly (v.1). Meaning "something that goes fast" is from 1795. Meaning "speculative investment, financial venture" is from 1846 (on the notion of a "flying leap"). Meaning "small handbill or fly-sheet" is from 1889, U.S. slang (originally especially of police bulletins), on notion of "made to be scattered broadcast." Meaning "aviator" (1916) developed in World War I. Related: Fliers; flyers.
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