- 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 flailing
The firing of a new executive brought in to shake up the flailing show is getting dead-movie-star tabloid coverage.Behind the ‘Today’ Show’s Latest Meltdown
November 20, 2014
But can a 22-year-old winning formula save a flailing system?‘Mario Kart 8’ May Be Nintendo’s Shell-Throwing Savior
May 26, 2014
What do you do when your political career is flailing and the election is only weeks away?The Strange Texas Political Ad That Parodies Frozen
May 7, 2014
A flailing genre seems revitalized, if “revitalized” means youth, though not female, or black, or openly gay talent.Which Stephen Colbert Will We See on CBS?
April 10, 2014
Well, here we are again—the Democrats are ‘in disarray,’ flailing on Obamacare.The Democrats Need to Stop Freaking Out About Obamacare and Take Charge
November 14, 2013
Desperately he tried to struggle loose, flailing with his legs—but useless.Raiders Invisible
Desmond Winter Hall
He struggled, blind with fury, flailing his arms and kicking.Shaman
His cane had ceased its flailing; the crowd had partially ceased its uproar.Counsel for the Defense
For these were the blocks that had formed the body of the monster of the hollow, its flailing arms.
I thought I saw Norhala floating, clothed in shouting, flailing fires.
- 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 flailing
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.