• synonyms


verb (used with object), flensed, flens·ing.
  1. to strip the blubber or the skin from (a whale, seal, etc.).
  2. to strip off (blubber or skin).
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Also flench [flench] /flɛntʃ/, flinch.

Origin of flense

1805–15; < Danish flense or Dutch flensen
Related formsflens·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for flense

Historical Examples

  • It took us two hours to kill our first whale, and four to flense it.

    Peter the Whaler

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • I scarcely believe that in the course of the day we met with a single piece of ice large enough to flense a seal upon.

British Dictionary definitions for flense


flench (flɛntʃ) or flinch (flɪntʃ)

  1. (tr) to strip (a whale, seal, etc) of (its blubber or skin)
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Derived Formsflenser, flencher or flincher, noun

Word Origin

C19: from Danish flense; related to Dutch flensen
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 flense


also flench, 1814, from Danish flense, perhaps from PIE root *(s)plei- "to splice, split." Related: Flenser; flensing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper