As the Crow Flies


What does As the Crow Flies mean?

As the Crow Flies is an idiom that has been used in both literature and everyday speech for centuries. It refers to the most direct route between two points and implies a sense of immediacy and efficiency.

In modern usage, this expression often suggests that a person is seeking the quickest way to achieve a goal. This can refer to anything from navigating a physical route on a map to completing a complicated task. It can be used as part of an expression of determination and ambition, such as “I’m going to get there as the crow flies!” A similar expression is “In a beeline.”

The phrase was popularized recently by its use in the 2022 Netflix series of the same name.


What's the origin of As the Crow Flies?

The exact origin of “As the Crow Flies” is not known, although it can be traced back to the 19th century.

The idiom can be found in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, and has been used ever since to describe something that is direct and straightforward, making the novel a likely candidate for a source.

Another theory suggests that the origin of the idiom relates to an ancient method of navigating at sea by releasing crows and hoping they fly toward land, guiding seamen ashore.

However, this theory is only hypothetical, and there is no concrete evidence to support it – on the other hand, crows have been known to get aggressive confined, making this idea even more unviable.

In all honesty, neither crows, nor bees travel in straight lines, rendering both expressions unfounded in reality.

Spread & Usage

How did As the Crow Flies spread?

Following the publishing of Oliver Twist by Dickens in 1838, “As the Crow Flies” became more and more widely used across English language literature. Initially, it was popular in Britain, however, with the rising prominence of American culture, it spread to the United States, as a popular expression.

Recently, the recognition of the idiom grew even more significantly, due to the release of the 2022 Netflix series, titled “As the Crow Flies”.

The originally Turkish series tackles the trope of finding a dark side within the profession of a news anchor, in eight episodes.

It has gained mixed reviews, although a second season is already scheduled for production.

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