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:
“Thou art a beaten dog beneath the hail,
A swollen magpie in a fitful sun,
Half black half white
Nor knowstou wing from tail
Pull down thy vanity
How mean thy hates”
—Ezra Pound (18851972)
“No Ravens wing can stretch the flight so far
As the torn bandrols of Napoleons war.
Choose then your climate, fix your best abode,
Hell make you deserts and hell bring you blood.
How could you fear a dearth? have not mankind,
Tho slain by millions, millions left behind?
Has not conscription still the power to weild
Her annual faulchion oer the human field?
A faithful harvester!”
—Joel Barlow (17541812)
“The wild touch of thy dye-dusty wing!
I found that wing broken today!”
—Robert Frost (18741963)