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[flaj-uh-luh nt, fluh-jel-uh nt] /ˈflædʒ ə lənt, fləˈdʒɛl ənt/
a person who flagellates or scourges himself or herself for religious discipline.
a person who derives sexual pleasure from whipping or being whipped by another person.
(often initial capital letter) one of a medieval European sect of fanatics who practiced scourging in public.
severely criticizing:
a flagellant attack on the opposition party.
Origin of flagellant
1555-65; < Latin flagellant- (stem of flagellāns) whipping, present participle of flagellāre. See flagellum, -ant
Related forms
flagellantism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for flagellants
Historical Examples
  • "These are the Beating Friars, otherwise called the flagellants," quoth he.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • And the flagellants and the Penitenti—have even their ghosts departed?

    The Story of Perugia Margaret Symonds
  • The proceedings of the flagellants in all countries were very similar.

    Religion & Sex Chapman Cohen
  • This practice soon became a regular craze and was taken up later by the Dominicans, the Franciscans, and the flagellants.

    The Rise of the Mediaeval Church Alexander Clarence Flick
  • Every country had its wandering hordes of flagellants and penitents, its crusaders and its pilgrims.

    Renaissance in Italy, Volume 1 (of 7)

    John Addington Symonds
  • In 1349 two hundred flagellants first entered Strasburg, where they were hospitably lodged by the citizens.

  • There were the flagellants to see, who whipped themselves until their bare backs were red.

    Cuba Past and Present Richard Davey
  • The practice has a long history, but amounts to an American survival of the flagellants of Europe.

    The Crest of the Continent

    Ernest Ingersoll
  • Among the outbreaks of this kind was that of the flagellants, which showed itself several times in various places.

    Sketches of Church History James Craigie Robertson
  • Kadris, a set of Mohammedan dervishes who lacerate themselves with scourges, like the flagellants.

    The Nuttall Encyclopaedia Edited by Rev. James Wood
British Dictionary definitions for flagellants


/ˈflædʒɪlənt; fləˈdʒɛlənt/
a person who whips himself or others either as part of a religious penance or for sexual gratification
(often capital) (in medieval Europe) a member of a religious sect who whipped themselves in public
Derived Forms
flagellantism, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin flagellāre to whip, from flagellum
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for flagellants



late 16c., from Latin flagellantem (nominative flagellans), present participle of flagellare "to scourge, lash" (see flagellum).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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