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90s Slang You Should Know


[fley] /fleɪ/
verb (used with object)
to strip off the skin or outer covering of.
to criticize or scold with scathing severity.
to deprive or strip of money or property.
Origin of flay
before 900; Middle English flen, Old English flēan; cognate with Middle Dutch vlaen, Old Norse flā
Related forms
flayer, noun
unflayed, adjective
2. castigate, excoriate, upbraid, chew out. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for flay
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The bridge-opener—when he found him he would take him into the desert and flay him alive; and find him he would.

    The Weavers, Complete Gilbert Parker
  • His invectives and vituperations bite and flay like steel whips.

    Suspended Judgments John Cowper Powys
  • "If I hadn't got important business in hand, I'd stop and flay you for your insolence," his snarl said.

    Jan A. J. Dawson
  • To flay off your skin, that I may make me a warm cap against the winter.

  • I forgot to say, that not having time to flay them, we had shoved them down the main hatchway, to wait till the next day.

    Peter the Whaler W.H.G. Kingston
  • What an occupation—to flay his fellow-creatures and offer their skins for sale.

    Fair Haven and Foul Strand August Strindberg
  • O Rubicante, see thou plant thy clutches on him, and flay him!'

British Dictionary definitions for flay


verb (transitive)
to strip off the skin or outer covering of, esp by whipping; skin
to attack with savage criticism
to strip of money or goods, esp by cheating or extortion
Derived Forms
flayer, noun
Word Origin
Old English flēan; related to Old Norse flā to peel, Lithuanian plešti to tear
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 flay

Old English flean "to skin" (strong verb, past tense flog, past participle flagen), from Proto-Germanic *flakhanan (cf. Middle Dutch vlaen, Old High German flahan, Old Norse fla), from PIE root *plak- (2) "to hit" (cf. Greek plessein "to strike," Lithuanian plešiu "to tear;" see plague (n.)). Related: Flayed; flaying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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