flail

[ fleyl ]
/ fleɪl /

noun

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.

verb (used with or without object)

to beat or swing with or as if with a flail.

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Origin of flail

before 1100; Middle English fleil (noun), Old English flighel (probably misspelling of *flegil), cognate with Dutch vlegel,German Flegel<West Germanic *flagil-<Late Latin flagellum flail, Latin: whip, scourge. See flagellum
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for flail

British Dictionary definitions for flail

flail
/ (fleɪl) /

noun

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

verb

(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 for flail

C12 fleil, ultimately from Late Latin flagellum flail, from Latin: whip
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

Medical definitions for flail

flail
[ flāl ]

v.

To move vigorously or erratically; thrash about.
To strike or lash out violently.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.