Flay Definition

flayed, flaying, flays
To strip off the skin or hide of, as by whipping.
Webster's New World
To strip of money or goods; fleece.
American Heritage
To criticize or scold mercilessly.
Webster's New World
To whip or lash.
American Heritage
To rob; pillage.
Webster's New World

(UK dialectal, Northern England, Scotland) A fright; a scare.


(UK dialectal, Northern England, Scotland) Fear; a source of fear; a formidable matter; a fearsome or repellent-looking individual.


Origin of Flay

  • From Middle English flayen, flaien, fleien, from Old English *flīeġan ("to cause to fly, put to flight, frighten"; found only in compounds: āflīeġan), from Proto-Germanic *flaugijaną (“to let fly, cause to fly”), causitive of Proto-Germanic *fleuganą (“to fly”), from Proto-Indo-European *plew-k-, *plew- (“to run, flow, swim, fly”). Cognate with Old High German arflaugjan ("to frighten, cause to flee"; whence Middle High German ervlougen (“to put to flight, drive away, expel”)), Icelandic fleygja (“to throw away, discard”), Gothic - (us-flaugjan, “to cause to fly”).

    From Wiktionary

  • From Old English flean from Proto-Germanic *flahaną. Cognate with Old Norse flá (“to flay”), whence Danish flå.

    From Wiktionary

  • Middle English flen from Old English flēan

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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