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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 flaying
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They screamed as if escaping death; they resisted as if some one were flaying them.

    Let us follow Him Henryk Sienkiewicz
  • The makers of goat-skin bags have a curious skill in flaying.

    Beast and Man in India John Lockwood Kipling
  • One learns more examining one's own conscience than dissecting and flaying others alive.

    Explanation of Catholic Morals John H. Stapleton
  • He had also persuaded a neighbor to be present on the occasion of the flaying.

    Folk-lore of Shakespeare Thomas Firminger Thiselton-Dyer
  • Somebody or other;—first flaying the skin off, as was natural, and taking that for his trouble.

  • The skin can then be removed by flaying as in skinning a beef.

    Steel Traps A. R. (Arthur Robert) Harding
  • Sartoris watched him as some cold-blooded scientist might have watched the flaying of a live animal.

    The Slave of Silence Fred M. White
  • A child might cry over the ox they are flaying now in the yard.

    Andromache Gilbert Murray
  • They always observe certain superstitious precautions in flaying the dead animal.

    Bible Animals; J. G. Wood
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
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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
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