Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[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. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for flaying
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There were two girls who were flaying each other outside the 'Grand-Balcony.'

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • The makers of goat-skin bags have a curious skill in flaying.

    Beast and Man in India

    John Lockwood Kipling
  • They screamed as if escaping death; they resisted as if some one were flaying them.

    Let us follow Him Henryk Sienkiewicz
  • He had also persuaded a neighbor to be present on the occasion of the flaying.

    Folk-lore of Shakespeare Thomas Firminger Thiselton-Dyer
  • The skin can then be removed by flaying as in skinning a beef.

    Steel Traps A. R. (Arthur Robert) Harding
  • He just turned round, and looked at us, and went on flaying the deer.

  • After the flaying was complete, what was best to do with the carcass?

    Fetichism in West Africa Robert Hamill Nassau
  • Then came the flaying of a rope and frantic urging of heels.

    Bred of the Desert Marcus Horton
  • A child might cry over the ox they are flaying now in the yard.


    Gilbert Murray
British Dictionary definitions for flaying


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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for flaying



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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for flaying

Word Value for flaying

Scrabble Words With Friends