• synonyms


verb (used with object)
  1. to strip off the skin or outer covering of.
  2. to criticize or scold with scathing severity.
  3. to deprive or strip of money or property.
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Origin of flay

before 900; Middle English flen, Old English flēan; cognate with Middle Dutch vlaen, Old Norse flā
Related formsflay·er, nounun·flayed, adjective

Synonyms for flay

2. castigate, excoriate, upbraid, chew out.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for flayer

Historical Examples of flayer

  • He is a treacherous dog and may the flayer get all such treacherous dogs!

    The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven, Volume I (of 3)

    Alexander Wheelock Thayer

  • He could imagine the thousands watching grimly while the flayer used his knife.

  • "By John the Flayer's pony," said Pete; and he laughed and made light of his night-long walk.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for flayer


verb (tr)
  1. to strip off the skin or outer covering of, esp by whipping; skin
  2. to attack with savage criticism
  3. to strip of money or goods, esp by cheating or extortion
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Derived Formsflayer, noun

Word Origin for flay

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

Word Origin and History for flayer



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper