[ fley ]
See synonyms for: flayflayed on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
  1. to strip off the skin or outer covering of.

  2. to criticize or scold with scathing severity.

  1. 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

Other words for flay

Other words from flay

  • flayer, noun
  • un·flayed, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use flay in a sentence

  • His lordship would not intervene; he swore he hoped the cub would be flayed alive by Wilding.

    Mistress Wilding | Rafael Sabatini
  • How could a fellow of such insolent pretensions have escaped being flayed alive ere he reached the age he looked to be?

    Tony Butler | Charles James Lever
  • Otter was flayed, and Reidmar commanded the Æsir to fill the skin with gold, and cover it without that not a hair could be seen.

  • After the specimen had been flayed, the skin and a good supply of dogs' meat were hauled across and sledged home.

    The Home of the Blizzard | Douglas Mawson

British Dictionary definitions for flay


/ (fleɪ) /

  1. to strip off the skin or outer covering of, esp by whipping; skin

  2. to attack with savage criticism

  1. to strip of money or goods, esp by cheating or extortion

Origin of flay

Old English flēan; related to Old Norse flā to peel, Lithuanian pl e šti to tear

Derived forms of flay

  • flayer, noun

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