- an instrument for threshing grain, consisting of a staff or handle to one end of which is attached a freely swinging stick or bar.
- a similar instrument used as a weapon of war.
- to beat or swing with or as if with a flail.
Origin of flail
Examples from the Web for flailed
His head broke the surface, and he flailed the water in an effort to keep his nose in air.The Players
Everett B. Cole
He flailed the air frantically, and managed to regain his balance.Pagan Passions
Gordon Randall Garrett
Braced on his strong, short legs Gunnar flailed them like wheat.Hunters Out of Space
Joseph Everidge Kelleam
Then he had them beaten, flailed, until the fibres were all separated one from another.Picturesque Pala
George Wharton James
As the others rushed in, Gavir flailed about him with long arms and heavy fists.Star Performer
Robert J. Shea
- an implement used for threshing grain, consisting of a wooden handle with a free-swinging metal or wooden bar attached to it
- a weapon so shaped used in the Middle Ages
- (tr) to beat or thrash with or as if with a flail
- to move or be moved like a flail; thresh aboutwith arms flailing
Word Origin and History for flailed
15c., from flail (n.); originally "to scourge;" sense of "to move like a flail" is from 1874. Related: Flailed; flailing.
"implement for threshing grain," c.1100, perhaps from an unrecorded Old English *flegel, which probably represents West Germanic *flagil (cf. Middle Dutch and Low German vlegel, Old High German flegel, German flegel), a borrowing of Late Latin flagellum "winnowing tool, flail," from Latin flagellum "whip" (see flagellum).
- To move vigorously or erratically; thrash about.
- To strike or lash out violently.