The Chinese idiom " 不翼而飞" contains the character 翼 meaning wings, but how could one fly without wings?
Here 不翼 = 无翼 ？ I'm confused.
I am aware of the fact that the saying means "vanish into the air or disappear without trace".
飞 means fly. You leave footsteps if you run away, but you leave no trace if you fly away. It disappeared with no trace and you don't know the reason/how.
It's reasonable if it "has wings" (because there is no trace), but it doesn't have any, so the disappearance makes people wonder how did it happen.
It is an idiom so it doesn't have to be something actually has wings. For example, you can say your book 不翼而飞了。
I don't have enough points to comment yet but 不胫而走 is quite different.
It means something disappeared as if it had flown away, and that something probably doesn't have wings.
It originally means words because words spread across the world without wings. Now it just means something disappearing into thin air.
I don't study language, here is what I think:
Idioms, or rather, Classical Chinese is grammatically much different than Modern Chinese. Back then, you can have a greater freedom on how you write and words with similar meanings can be used alternatively but in Modern Chinese, we tend to centralize meanings of characters more and use less of the other meanings.
This is the definition of 不: http://xh.5156edu.com/html3/1680.html
So, one meaning of
没有, but it is not the most commonly used meaning of
翼 = Wing Yes, here, 不翼 = 无翼
It basically means something is gone in a weird way. For example, you could swear you left something at a certain place and you couldn't find it. You would use this phrase.
不翼而飞 发音：bù yì ér fēi 释义：翼：翅膀。没有翅膀却飞走了。比喻物品忽然丢失。也比喻事情传播得很迅速。 出处：《管子·戒》：“无翼而飞者声也。”《战国策·秦策三》：“众口所移，毋翼而飞。” 示例：足足的一百六十块钱就那样便不翼而飞了。（郭沫若《革命春秋·创造十年》） 近义词：不胫而走 不知去向 反义词：原封不动