What does the idiom "make a flying visit" mean?

You are wondering about the meaning of the phrase make a flying visit, maybe you heard it in a TV show, movie or theater play. Although this idiom is not used very often, it enriches your capacity of expression and strengthens communication. In which case is the expression make a flying visit used and what is its meaning?

Meaning of "make a flying visit"


The idiom “make a flying visit” is used to describe a very brief visit. It implies movement, as if the visitor is coming and going in a hurry, or has a limited amount of time to spend at their destination.


The phrase “make a flying visit” originated in the 16th century and was first used in print in 1563. It is derived from the older phrase “make a flying voyage”, which means to travel quickly. At the time, the phrase was used to describe a short trip, usually by sea. By the 19th century, the phrase had become commonly used and was used to refer to quick visits as well.


Today, the phrase “make a flying visit” is used to describe a brief visit. It implies that the visitor is in a hurry, or has a limited amount of time to spend at the destination. It can also be used to describe a work-related visit, such as a meeting or an inspection.

Example Sentences

  • My brother had to make a flying visit to the office this morning, and he'll be back in the evening.
  • My cousin is coming to visit us this weekend, but she’ll only be here for a few hours, so she’ll be making a flying visit.
  • We’re expecting the inspectors to make a flying visit to the factory tomorrow.

The meanings of the words in the "make a flying visit" idiom

From One Language to Another: Idioms in Translation

Translating idioms from one language to another can be a tricky task, as the cultural context behind an idiom can be difficult to capture. For example, the French phrase "avoir le cafard" translates to "to have the cockroach," which means to feel down or depressed. Similarly, the Chinese idiom "????" (j?ng d? zh? w?) translates to "frog at the bottom of a well," which refers to someone with a narrow view of the world.


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