American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- v. To strip off the skin or outer covering of.
- v. To strip of money or goods; fleece.
- v. To whip or lash.
- v. To assail with stinging criticism; excoriate.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To skin; strip off the skin of: as, to flay an ox.
- To strip off, in a general sense.
- To cause to fly; put to flight.
- To frighten.
- To be fear-struck.
- n. Fright; fear.
- n. A kick; a random blow; a fit of ill humor.
- v. to strip skin off
- v. to lash
- v. transitive, Northern England, Scotland To cause to fly; put to flight; drive off (by frightening).
- v. transitive, Northern England, Scotland To frighten; scare; terrify.
- v. intransitive, Northern England, Scotland To be fear-stricken.
- n. Northern England, Scotland A fright; a scare.
- n. Northern England, Scotland Fear; a source of fear; a formidable matter; a fearsome or repellent-looking individual.
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. To skin; to strip off the skin or surface of
- v. strip the skin off
- 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 *flaugijanan (“to let fly, cause to fly”), causitive of Proto-Germanic *fleuganan (“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 𐌿𐍃-𐍆𐌻𐌰𐌿𐌲𐌾𐌰𐌽 (us-flaugjan, "to cause to fly"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English flen, from Old English flēan. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Looks like someone's cosy old granny and has a tongue that would flay a kangaroo.”
“Would Michelle flay the bannana prior to she cooking it?”
“Merciless, cruel, and unforgiving," wrote Angela Carter a more obvious admirer in her 1982 preface to this edition: "Stead has a rare capacity to flay the reader's sensibilities.”
“And when he later threatens the recalcitrant Goneril that her sister will "with her nails flay thy wolfish visage", he brandishes his own vulpine claw in her face.”
“A sharp blade brandished, he said I'm going to flay you for food.”
“And they lashed me with whips that flay the skin with each stroke.”
“Conlin, Chopp, everyone on the Council that supported that: Traitors, the lot of them, and this will literally flay and skin them come next election cycle if they don't stand up to the state.”
“It has become fashionable for critics such as Jonathan Alter, author of a very kind book on Obama's first year, and the New Republic's Jonathan Chait to flay liberals for criticizing Obama on the premise that Republicans were determined to block whatever he sent Congress.”
“You're lucky I don't flay you alive for this black deed!”
“They don't anticipate that harassment may await them, equal pay may still be a dream, poverty a reality for many, that a hypersexualised culture will dog their attempts to feel comfortable in their bodies and childcare will flay them when they come to reproduce.”
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