A wing is a type of fin with a surface that produces lift for flight or propulsion through the atmosphere, or through another gaseous or liquid fluid. As such, wings have an airfoil shape, a streamlined cross-sectional shape producing a useful lift to drag ratio.
The word "wing" from the Old Norse vængr for many centuries referred mainly to the foremost limbs of birds (in addition to the architectural aisle.) But in recent centuries the word's meaning has extended to include lift producing appendages of insects, bats, pterosaurs, boomerangs, some sail boats and aircraft, or the inverted airfoil on a race car that generates a downward force to increase traction.
Various species of penguins and other flighted or flightless water birds such as auks, cormorants, guillemots, shearwaters, eider and scoter ducks and diving petrels are avid swimmers, and use their wings to propel through water.
A wing's aerodynamic quality is expressed as its lift-to-drag ratio. The lift a wing generates at a given speed and angle of attack can be one to two orders of magnitude greater than the total drag on the wing. A high lift-to-drag ratio requires a significantly smaller thrust to propel the wings through the air at sufficient lift.
Famous quotes containing the word wing:
“Loves the only thing Ive thought of or read about since I was knee-high. Thats what I always dreamed of, of meeting somebody and falling in love. And when that remarkable thing happened, I was going to recite poetry to her for hours about how her hearts an angels wing and her hair the strings of a heavenly harp. Instead I got drunk and hollered at her and called her a harpy.”
—Ben Hecht (18931964)
“Sure smokers have made personal choices. And they pay for those choices every day, whether sitting through an airline flight dying for a smoke, or dying for a smoke in the oncology wing of a hospital. The tobacco companies have not paid nearly enough for the killing.”
—Anna Quindlen (b. 1952)
“Dreamer of dreams, born out of my due time,
Why should I strive to set the crooked straight?
Let it suffice me that my murmuring rhyme
Beats with light wing against the ivory gate,”
—William Morris (18341896)