fling vs spree what difference

what is difference between fling and spree



  • IPA(key): /ˈflɪŋ/
  • Rhymes: -ɪŋ

Etymology 1

From Middle English fling, from the verb (see below). Compare Icelandic flengur (a fast sprint).


fling (plural flings)

  1. An act of throwing, often violently.
  2. An act of moving the limbs or body with violent movements, especially in a dance.
  3. An act or period of unrestrained indulgence.
    • 1838, Douglas William Jerrold, Men of Character
      When I was as young as you, I had my fling. I led a life of pleasure.
  4. A short casual sexual relationship.
    Synonyms: affairette, dalliance, hookup, liaison
  5. (figuratively) An attempt, a try (as in “give it a fling”).
  6. (obsolete) A severe or contemptuous remark; an expression of sarcastic scorn; a gibe or taunt.
    • c. 1732, Jonathan Swift, Epistle to a Lady
      I, who love to have a fling, / Both at senate house and king.
  7. A lively Scottish country dance.
  8. (obsolete) A trifling matter; an object of contempt.
    • ante 1800, old proverb
      England were but a fling / Save for the crooked stick and the grey goose wing.

Etymology 2

From Middle English flingen, flengen, from Old Norse flengja (to whip), from Proto-Germanic *flangijaną (to beat, whip), from Proto-Indo-European *pleh₂k- (to beat). Cognate with Icelandic flengja (to spank), Norwegian flengja (to rip, tear, or fling open).


fling (third-person singular simple present flings, present participle flinging, simple past flung or (colloquial or dialectal, nonstandard) flang or (nonstandard) flinged, past participle flung or (nonstandard) flinged)

  1. (intransitive, now archaic) To move (oneself) abruptly or violently; to rush or dash.
    • 1748, Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, Letter 113:
      I see, sir, said I, I see what a man I am with. […] And away I flung, leaving him seemingly vexed, and in confusion.
  2. (transitive) To throw with violence or quick movement; to hurl.
    • I know thy generous temper well. / Fling but the appearance of dishonour on it, / It straight takes fire.
  3. (intransitive, archaic) To throw; to wince; to flounce.
    • 1836, Helen Crocket, The Ettrick Shepherd’s Last Tale
      The horse flung most potently, making his heels fly aloft in the air.
  4. (intransitive, archaic) To utter abusive language; to sneer.



Unknown. Some theories listed at Douglas Harper (2001–2021), “spree”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.


  • IPA(key): /spɹiː/
  • Rhymes: -iː


spree (plural sprees)

  1. (in combination) Uninhibited activity.
    • 1959, David P. Morgan, editor, Steam’s Finest Hour, Kalmbach Publishing Co., page 27:
  2. (dated) A merry frolic; especially, a drinking frolic.
    Synonym: carousal

Usage notes

Often preceded by the name of a certain activity to indicate a period of doing that activity wholeheartedly and continuously, for example, shopping spree.

Derived terms

  • killing spree
  • shooting spree
  • shopping spree



spree (third-person singular simple present sprees, present participle spreeing, simple past and past participle spreed)

  1. (intransitive, rare) To engage in a spree.
    Synonym: carouse

Further reading

  • “spree”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
  • “spree”, in Merriam–Webster Online Dictionary.


  • Esper, Peers, Perse, Prees, Reeps, esper, peers, per se, perse, pères, speer, spere

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