Words on the wing

Spring makes us think of birds, and birds have wings. How many words or phrases also have "wings"? See if you can name the winged word or expression suggested by the descriptions below.

1. to curtail one's power

2. an offensive position in football behind an end

3. protected or sponsored by

4. to fly away or depart

5. behind the scenes

6. a shoe with an ornamental toe cap

7. a noisy party or something extraordinary

8. in flight or in motion

9. with sails extended on both sides

10. an upholstered armchair with a high solid back

11. a pilot who flies behind and outside the leader in a formation

12. characterizing a particular political group

13. to improvise


(1) to clip one's wings; (2) wingback; (3) under the wing of; (4) to take wing; (5) in the wings; (6) wingtip; (7) wingding; (8) on the wing; (9) wing and wing; (10) wing chair; (11) wingman; (12) right (or left) wing; (13) to wing it (from 19th-century actors who went onstage to replace an absent player without knowing their part. Prompters in the wings fed them their lines).

SOURCES: 'The Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins,' 'The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology.'

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