As the crow flies

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As the crow flies means on the most direct route possible, one not bound by the contour of roads. As the crow flies means in a straight line from one place to another. The term as the crow flies first appears in the 1760s, to describe actual distances not influenced by landmarks or detours. Crows generally fly in direct routes between two places, as the crow flies is an idiom that is drawn from the direct observation of nature. Interestingly, the French have a similar idiom, à vol d’oiseau, which literally translates as flight of the bird. It has a similar meaning to as the crow flies.


As the crow flies, eight miles separate Rancho Cotate and Petaluma high schools, meaning in all of California, the best of the best in heavyweight wrestling live a joggable distance from each other. (The Press Democrat)

One amendment specifically set the “as the crow flies” straight-line measurement method as the standard, but another referred to the walking route method, which can be more circuitous. (The Alaska Dispatch News)

The VA draws a circle around its clinics and measures distances in a direct line as the crow flies, not by highway routes that people travel, Woodford said. (The Brainerd Dispatch)

It’s screened from the Upper Dargle Road by a high wall, but a bus stops just outside and the M11 is 150 metres away as the crow flies. (The Independent)

Luzerne County, after all, is within a short distance – as the crow flies – from the renowned Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, in southern Schuylkill County, and the bird-rich habitats of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and the Pocono Plateau. (The Wilkes Barre Times Leader)

MLA travel rules allow members to use Executive Air if they live 350 kilometres from Regina; Eston is 302 km away as the crow flies, 374 km by road. (The Regina Leader-Post)

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