having flesh, especially of a specified type (usually used in combination): dark-fleshed game birds.

Origin of fleshed

late Middle English word dating back to 1375–1425; see origin at flesh, -ed3
Related formso·ver·fleshed, adjectiveun·fleshed, adjective




the soft substance of a human or other animal body, consisting of muscle and fat.
muscular and fatty tissue.
this substance or tissue in animals, viewed as an article of food, usually excluding fish and sometimes fowl; meat.
fatness; weight.
the body, especially as distinguished from the spirit or soul: The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
the physical or animal nature of humankind as distinguished from its moral or spiritual nature: the needs of the flesh.
living creatures generally.
a person's family or relatives.
Botany. the soft, pulpy portion of a fruit, vegetable, etc., as distinguished from the core, skin, shell, etc.
the surface of the human body; skin: A person with tender flesh should not expose it to direct sunlight.
(no longer in common use; now considered offensive) flesh color.

verb (used with object)

to plunge (a weapon) into the flesh.
Hunting. to feed (a hound or hawk) with flesh in order to make it more eager for the chase.Compare blood(def 16).
to incite and accustom (persons) to bloodshed or battle by an initial experience.
to inflame the ardor or passions of by a foretaste.
to overlay or cover (a skeleton or skeletal frame) with flesh or with a fleshlike substance.
to give dimension, substance, or reality to (often followed by out): The playwright wrote pretty good characters, but the actors really fleshed them out.
to remove adhering flesh from (hides), in leather manufacture.
Archaic. to satiate with flesh or fleshly enjoyments; surfeit; glut.

Verb Phrases

flesh out,
  1. to gain weight: He realized to his dismay that he had fleshed out during the months of forced inactivity.
  2. to add details to or make more complete: She fleshed out her proposal considerably before presenting it to the committee for action.


    in the flesh, present and alive before one's eyes; in person: The movie star looked quite different in the flesh.
    pound of flesh, something that strict justice demands is due, but can only be paid with great loss or suffering to the payer.
    press the flesh, Informal. to shake hands, as with voters while campaigning: The senator is busy as ever pressing the flesh on the campaign trail.

Origin of flesh

before 900; Middle English flesc, Old English flǣsc; cognate with Old Frisian flēsk, Old High German fleisk (German Fleisch), Old Norse flesk bacon
Related formsflesh·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fleshed

Contemporary Examples of fleshed

  • But these are some sharply drawn stories, fleshed out with three-dimensional characters, withering satire, and genuine pathos.

    The Daily Beast logo
    This Week’s Hot Reads: Sept. 2, 2013

    Damaris Colhoun

    September 2, 2013

Historical Examples of fleshed

  • Halldor came at his back and fleshed Whitting in his hough-sinews.

  • That maiden-sword of the world was fleshed to save a maiden from the jaws of a monster.

    Demonology and Devil-lore

    Moncure Daniel Conway

  • They all howled fearfully, and they would fain have fleshed their teeth in the pianist.

    Franz Liszt

    James Huneker

  • Some dying man on the floor had fleshed his dagger with his last effort.

    Red Nails

    Robert E. Howard

  • But as he spoke he fleshed his teeth against the bone as a dog would have done.

    Aaron Trow

    Anthony Trollope

British Dictionary definitions for fleshed



the soft part of the body of an animal or human, esp muscular tissue, as distinct from bone and visceraRelated adjective: sarcoid
informal excess weight; fat
archaic the edible tissue of animals as opposed to that of fish or, sometimes, fowl; meat
the thick usually soft part of a fruit or vegetable, as distinct from the skin, core, stone, etc
the human body and its physical or sensual nature as opposed to the soul or spiritRelated adjective: carnal
mankind in general
animate creatures in general
one's own family; kin (esp in the phrase one's own flesh and blood)
a yellowish-pink to greyish-yellow colour
Christian Science belief on the physical plane which is considered erroneous, esp the belief that matter has sensation
(modifier) tanning of or relating to the inner or under layer of a skin or hidea flesh split
in the flesh in person; actually present
make one's flesh creep (esp of something ghostly) to frighten and horrify one
press the flesh informal to shake hands, usually with large numbers of people, esp in political campaigning


(tr) hunting to stimulate the hunting instinct of (hounds or falcons) by giving them small quantities of raw flesh
to wound the flesh of with a weapon
archaic, or poetic to accustom or incite to bloodshed or battle by initial experience
tanning to remove the flesh layer of (a hide or skin)
to fatten; fill out

Word Origin for flesh

Old English flǣsc; related to Old Norse flesk ham, Old High German fleisk meat, flesh
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 fleshed



1520s, "to render (a hunting animal) eager for prey by rewarding it with flesh from a kill," with figurative extensions, from flesh (n.). Meaning "to clothe or embody with flesh," with figurative extensions, is from 1660s. Related: Fleshed; fleshing.



Old English flæsc "flesh, meat," also "near kindred" (a sense now obsolete except in phrase flesh and blood), common West and North Germanic (cf. Old Frisian flesk, Middle Low German vlees, German Fleisch "flesh," Old Norse flesk "pork, bacon"), of uncertain origin, perhaps from Proto-Germanic *flaiskoz-.

Figurative use for "animal or physical nature of man" (Old English) is from the Bible, especially Paul's use of Greek sarx, which yielded sense of "sensual appetites" (c.1200). Flesh-wound is from 1670s; flesh-color, the hue of "Caucasian" skin, is first recorded 1610s, described as a tint composed of "a light pink with a little yellow" [O'Neill, "Dyeing," 1862]. An Old English poetry-word for "body" was flæsc-hama, literally "flesh-home."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

fleshed in Medicine




The soft tissue of the body of a vertebrate, covering the bones and consisting mainly of skeletal muscle and fat.
Related formsfleshy adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with fleshed


In addition to the idioms beginning with flesh

  • flesh and blood
  • flesh out

also see:

  • go the way of all flesh
  • in person (the flesh)
  • make one's flesh creep
  • neither fish nor fowl (flesh)
  • pound of flesh
  • press the flesh
  • spirit is willing but the flesh is weak
  • thorn in one's flesh
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.