'fly off' and 'fall off' as adjectives

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Vronsky

Senior Member
Russian - Russia
Hello,
What do you call in English that falls/flies off something? Imagine a trembling, vibrating machine. In some moment, its detail flies off. What is it called? Would you call it "a fly-off detail" or "a fall-off detail"?

"Where is that ... thingy? Can you see it?"​
 
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Something that falls off simply drops to the ground. Something that flies off has an initial horizontal and /or upward motion too. Either way, it's "Where's that thing /bit/piece that just fell/flew off."
    Cross-posted
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    There is such a thing as a "fly-off handbrake" (I had one on a car I owned). The adjective usually means "very easy to release". The idea is that the button at the end of the handbrake is only pressed to set the brake, and if this is done, the brake is released merely by upward pressure on the lever.

    There is also a fly-off lever on hand-grenades - the pin preventing the handle's movement is released and the handle "flies up" and causes a detonator to explode and thus the grenade.
     

    FinWa

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Hello,
    What do you call in English that falls/flies off something? Imagine a trembling, vibrating machine. In some moment, its detail flies off. What is it called? Would you call it "a fly-off detail" or "a fall-off detail"?

    "Where is that ... thingy? Can you see it?"​
    You can maybe call it a projectile while it is still in the air, and especially if it hits someone. For example, if the piece flew off and hit someone, they can say "I got hit by a projectile." However, if it just peacefully and slowly falls down, then you can't call it that.
     

    Vronsky

    Senior Member
    Russian - Russia
    You can maybe call it a projectile while it is still in the air, and especially if it hits someone. For example, if the piece flew off and hit someone, they can say "I got hit by a projectile." However, if it just peacefully and slowly falls down, then you can't call it that.
    Thank you! In my dictionary I found the definition of projectile: "a missile designed to be fired from a rocket or gun". (Oxford American Dictionary) It's interesting but I meant simply a thing that fell/flew off another thing.
     

    FinWa

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Thank you! In my dictionary I found the definition of projectile: "a missile designed to be fired from a rocket or gun". (Oxford American Dictionary) It's interesting but I meant simply a thing that fell/flew off another thing.
    Lol no problem! But there is more than one definition of "projectile." Another meaning is:

    "An object propelled through the air, especially one thrown as a weapon."

    projectile - definition of projectile in English | Oxford Dictionaries

    This means a book, a small part of a machine, or any object at all, can be a projectile.

    For example, here is a news article in English that uses the word: Police make arrest after Jacksonville school bus hit by projectile

    I believe that you can use this word in your example, of something going into the air from a machine that is violently vibrating.
     
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