As the crow flies
As the crow flies, similar to in a beeline, is an idiom for the most direct path between two points. This meaning is attested from the early 19th century, and appeared in Charles Dickens's novel Oliver Twist:
We cut over the fields at the back with him between us – straight as the crow flies – through hedge and ditch.
Crows do conspicuously fly alone across open country, but neither crows nor bees (as in “beeline”) fly in particularly straight lines. Crows do not swoop in the air like swallows or starlings, and often circle above their nests. One claim, that before modern navigational methods were introduced, crows were kept upon ships and released when land was sought, has no scientific basis. In fact crows would not travel well in cages as they fight if confined.
- Allen, Robert (2008). Allen's Dictionary of English Phrases. Penguin UK. ISBN 9780141917689.
- Knowles, Elizabeth (2006). The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Oxford University Press, UK. ISBN 9780191578564.
- Villazon, Luis. “Do crows actually fly in a straight line?”, BBC Focus (August 30, 2017).
- "See the Sea - Nautical Language". see-the-sea.org.
- "World Wide Words: As the crow flies". World Wide Words.
- Dundes, Alan (2004). "As the Crow Flies: A Straightforward Study of Lineal Worldview in American Folk Speech". In Lau, Kimberley J.; et al. (eds.). What Goes Around Comes Around: The Circulation of Proverbs in Contemporary Life. Utah State University Press. pp. 171–187. ISBN 978-0-87421-592-2.
- Winfield, Charles H. (1882). Adjudged Words and Phrases: Being a Collection of Adjudicated Definitions of Terms Used in the Law, with References to Authorities. Jersey City, NJ: J.J. Griffiths. p. 45. OCLC 3364516.
as the crow flies.
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