AskDefine | Define flyswatter

Dictionary Definition

flyswatter n : an implement with a flat part (of mesh or plastic) and a long handle; used to kill insects [syn: swatter, flyswat]

User Contributed Dictionary



From fly + swat + -er



  1. A hand-held device for swatting flies or other insects, to kill or shoo them.


device for swatting flies

Extensive Definition

A flyswatter is a hand-held device for swatting flies and other insects.
Though the modern flyswatter usually consists of a small rectangular sheet (about 4 inches or 10 cm across) of lightweight, flexible, vented material, usually rubber or plastic, attached to a lightweight wire or plastic handle about 2 feet long, probably the earliest fly swatters were nothing more than some sort of striking surface attached to the end of a long stick.
The venting allows the flyswatter to move more quickly through the air, making it easier to hit a fast-moving target such as a fly. The venting also allows the flyswatter to get closer to the fly before it is detected, as flies can sense the change in air pressure caused by an approaching solid object. With the vents in it, the flyswatter usually gets close enough to the fly that when it is finally detected by the fly's pressure-sense or its eyes, it is too late for the fly to escape.


In the summer of 1905, Kansas was plagued by an overabundance of flies, which, as well as causing annoyance, aided in the spread of disease. Dr. Samuel Crumbine, a member of the Kansas board of health, wanted to raise public awareness of the threat of flies. He was inspired by a chant at a Topeka softball game: "swat the ball". In a health bulletin published soon afterward, he exhorted Kansans to "swat the fly".
In response, a schoolteacher named Frank H. Rose created the "fly bat", a device consisting of a yardstick attached to a piece of screen. Crumbine invented the device now commonly known as the fly swatter.

Electric flyswatters

Electric flyswatters are handheld pest-controlling devices that resemble tennis rackets designed to quickly and cleanly terminate insects by administering a brief, but powerful electric shock when any conductive part of the insect bridges the terminals of the device. Most electric flyswatters are fashioned in a similar way. They consist of a handle containing batteries, and a charging mechanism, usually a capacitor or a transformer, for the electrically charged grid on the face of the head. These are banned from importation into Australia.

Fly Guns

The fly gun (or flygun), a derivative of the fly swatter, uses a spring-loaded plastic projectile to "swat" flies. Mounted on the projectile is a perforated circular disk which, according to advertising copy, "really does work" and "won't splat the fly".
Similar products are sold elsewhere on the Internet, mostly as toys or novelty items, although their supporters maintain that they work as well as traditional fly swatters.
flyswatter in Norwegian Bokmål: fluesmekker
flyswatter in German: Fliegenklatsche
flyswatter in Modern Greek (1453-): Μυγοσκοτώστρα
flyswatter in Spanish: Matamoscas
flyswatter in Dutch: Vliegenmepper
flyswatter in Norwegian Nynorsk: flugesmekkar
flyswatter in Japanese: 蠅叩き
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