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flit vs. fleet  
von Deseret (SI), 2018-12-06, 10:33  like dislike  Spam?  
I flit, I float, I fleetly flee, I fly

Is there any difference in meaning between "to flit" and "to fleet" or are these just two variant spellings of the same word?
flit / fleet  #901281
von sunfunlili (DE/GB), 2018-12-06, 12:38  like dislike  Spam?
" Quick search results
Showing 1-5 of 5 results in 4 entries

Widen search? Find ‘flit’ in: » phrases (5)» definitions (29)» etymologies (18)» quotations (265)» full text (164)
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1. flit, n.1 View full entry 1835
...The action of flitting....

2. Flit, n.2 View full entry 1923
...The proprietary name of an insecticide. Flit gun, a syringe intended for use in spraying insecticides....

3. † flit, adj. View full entry 1590
...Swift, nimble, quickly-moving....

4. flit, v. View full entry ?c1200
...intransitive. To shift one's position, either in a material or immaterial sense; to be gone, depart, pass away, remove. Also with away, or const. from, †of, out of,...

5. flit in flit, v. View full entry 1642
...= flitted...  "
"  Quick search results
Showing 1-10 of 10 results in 10 entries

Widen search? Find ‘fleet’ in: » phrases (64)» definitions (186)» etymologies (66)» quotations (2529)» full text (1964)
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1. fleet, n.1 View full entry a1000
...A sea force, or naval armament; in early use, a number of vessels carrying armed men, under a single command; in modern use, a number of ships armed and manned for war,...

2. fleet, n.2 View full entry c893
...A place where water flows; an arm of the sea; a creek, inlet, run of water....

3. fleet, n.3 View full entry 1829
4. fleet, n.4 View full entry 1880
...(See quots.) Cf. fleet3. Also, fleet-line....

5. fleet, adj.1 View full entry 1528
...Characterized by power of swift onward movement; swift, nimble. Said primarily of living beings, their limbs and movements; hence of things viewed as self-moving, thoughts, etc. Not in colloquial use....

6. fleet, adj.2 View full entry 1607
...Of milk: Skimmed. Also fleet cheese, cheese made of skimmed milk....

7. fleet, adj.3 View full entry 1629
...Having little depth; shallow....

8. fleet, v.1 View full entry c897
...intransitive. To rest upon the surface of a liquid; to be buoyed up; opposed to sink. Obsolete exc. dialect....

9. fleet, v.2 View full entry c1440
...transitive. To take off that which floats upon the surface of a liquid; esp. to skim (milk, the cream from milk). Also with complement....

10. fleet, v.3 View full entry 1630
...intransitive ? To fish with a ‘fleet’.... "
dialect in the first copy see below  #901283
von sunfunlili (DE/GB), 2018-12-06, 12:48  like dislike  Spam?, v.2
View as: Outline |Full entryKeywords: On |OffQuotations: Show all |Hide all
Pronunciation:  Brit. /fliːt/,  U.S. /flit/
Forms:  ME fletyn, 15–16 flet(e, 15, 18 dialect flit, 15– fleet; past participleME flet.
Frequency (in current use):  
Etymology: The precise formation is somewhat uncertain; probably < Old English flét cream, < root of fléotan fleet v.1; compare Swedish dialect flöta , Middle Danish fløde (modern af-fløde ) of equivalent etymology. But as the Dutch vlieten (= fleet v.1) occurs in this sense, the English verb may possibly be a use of fleet v.1(Show Less)
Obsolete exc. dialect.
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a. transitive. To take off that which floats upon the surface of a liquid; esp. to skim (milk, the cream from milk). Also with complement.  .....  ", v.1
View as: Outline |Full entryKeywords: On |OffQuotations: Show all |Hide all
Pronunciation:  Brit. /fliːt/,  U.S. /flit/
Forms:  infinitiveOE fléotan, (3rd person present tense. flýt), ME fleoten, (ME southern vleoten, wleoten), ME fleote, ME–15 flet(e(n, ME–16 fleete, Sc. fleit, ME– fleet. past tenseOE fléat, ME Orm. flæt, ME fleet, flote, ME–15 flet, pluralOE fluton, ME fluten, floten; weak forms ME fletide, ME–15 flette, 15 Sc. fletit, fletted, 16 fle(e)ted. past participleOE, ME floten (see flotten adj.).(Show Less)
Frequency (in current use):  
Origin: A word inherited from Germanic.
Etymology: A Common Germanic originally strong verb; Old English fléotan (fléat, fluton, floten) to float, corresponding to Old Frisian fliata, Old Saxon fliotan (Middle Dutch, Dutch vlieten) to flow, Old High German flioȥȥan to float, flow (Middle High German vlieȥen, modern German flieszen to flow), Old Norse flióta (Swedish flyta, Danish fl0de) to float, flow (not recorded in Gothic) < Old Germanic *fleutan (flaut, flutum, flotono-), < pre-Germanic root *pleud-, ploud-, plud- (compare Latvian pludināt to float, pludot to flow, plūdi flood, Lithuanian plústi to float away, plūdīs float of a fishing-net), an extended form of the Old Aryan root *pleu-, plu- (compare Greek πλεῖν to sail, Sanskrit plu, pru to swim, float, flow, Latin pluĕre to rain.(Show Less) "
No, they are not variants of the same word, but they are related:  #901293
von Lllama (GB/AT), 2018-12-06, 14:54  like dislike  Spam?  
the most important difference: flit is a verb and fleet(ly) is an adjective (/adverb) means to move swiftly and lightly, usually not spending much time in one place or on one thing. means fast and nimble in movement

The etymology in the links says that flit comes from Old Norse flytja and fleet is probably from Old Norse fljótr, but that they are related.

[In case it's relevant: to flee means to run away.]
A fly and a flea in a flue ...  #901301
von Dracs (DE), 2018-12-06, 17:56  like dislike  Spam?  
von Deseret (SI), 2018-12-06, 18:25  like dislike  Spam?  
Nice poem :)
von Deseret (SI), Last modified: 2018-12-06, 18:36  like dislike  Spam?  
How did the flea manage to "fly" out of the flue, is beyond my understanding. Maybe it was on fly's back.
von Dwight (US), 2018-12-07, 06:10  like dislike  Spam?  
One can flit, float, flee, or fly...but how could one fleet? (Agree with Lllama).
von Deseret (SI), Last modified: 2018-12-07, 08:49  like dislike  Spam?  
The intransitive verb "to fleet" is to be found in many on-line dictionaries.
The song you quoted has fleetly as an adverb, not fleet as a verb, so that was the question I answered :-)  #901324
von Lllama (GB/AT), Last modified: 2018-12-07, 09:42  like dislike  Spam?  
To fleet does exist, and the OED uses flit in the description:
11. intransitive. To move swiftly; to flit, fly. Also with away. Cf. fleet adj.1
but that doesn't make them variant spellings of the same word.

I would say that fleet is rare to obsolete as a 'standard' verb these days, but the present participle as an adjective is quite common -
von Deseret (SI), 2018-12-07, 09:40  like dislike  Spam?  
Lllama, I know it's an adverb. I should have articulated my question more clearly.
von Deseret (SI), Last modified: 2018-12-07, 09:43  like dislike  Spam?  
Thank you everyone for your contribution.
I was editing my post while you answered :-)  #901329
von Lllama (GB/AT), 2018-12-07, 09:44  like dislike  Spam?  
von Deseret (SI), 2018-12-07, 10:15  like dislike  Spam?  
Yes, it didn't escape my notice :)
im Deutschen gibt es auch das Verb "flottieren"  #901339
von migmag logged out, 2018-12-07, 13:10  like dislike  Spam?  37.24.8...
Wenn man das Buch "Aus den Tiefen des Weltmeeres . Schilderungen von der Deutschen Tiefsee-Expedition (1903). Carl Chun. " liest, stoplpert man ständig darüber. Ich denke in der heutigen Zeit wird es wohl nicht mehr so oft verwendet.
Allerdings wird "flottieren" in auschließlich mit "to float" übersetzt  #901341
von migmag logged out, 2018-12-07, 13:12  like dislike  Spam?  37.24.8...
Würde das "to fleet" nicht auch passen?
von Deseret (SI), 2018-12-07, 18:15  like dislike  Spam?  
Being neither german nor english native speaker I wouldn't know. Maybe somebody will care to answer.
I fleetly fleet...  #901353
von Dwight (US), 2018-12-07, 20:18  like dislike  Spam?  
Deseret, I see the verb "fleet" is also listed in the Apple Dictionary built into Mac computers (which combines definitions from several dictionaries), where it's listed as "literary". Don't believe I've ever heard or read it used as a verb, until this discussion. As noted by Lllama, both "flit" and "fleet" derive from Old Norse and are related (as well, to D "fließen"), but given that the verb meanings are practically identical, it's curious that both verbs survived into Modern English, at least for several centuries. Nowadays "flit" seems to have decisively displaced the use of "fleet" as a verb.
von Deseret (SI), 2018-12-08, 08:21  like dislike  Spam?  

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