from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A flat thin piece or layer; a chip.
  • n. Archaeology A stone fragment removed from a core or from another flake by percussion or pressure, serving as a preform or as a tool or blade itself.
  • n. A small piece; a bit.
  • n. A small crystalline bit of snow.
  • n. Slang A somewhat eccentric person; an oddball.
  • n. Slang Cocaine.
  • transitive v. To remove a flake or flakes from; chip.
  • transitive v. To cover, mark, or overlay with or as if with flakes.
  • intransitive v. To come off in flat thin pieces or layers; chip off.
  • flake out Slang To fall asleep or collapse from fatigue or exhaustion.
  • flake out Slang To act in an odd or eccentric manner.
  • flake out Slang To lose interest or nerve.
  • n. A frame or platform for drying fish or produce.
  • n. A scaffold lowered over the side of a ship to support workers or caulkers.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A loose filmy mass or a thin chiplike layer of anything; a film; flock; lamina; layer; scale; as, a flake of snow, paint, or fish.
  • n. A prehistoric tool chipped out of stone.
  • n. A person who is impractical, flighty, unreliable, or inconsistent; especially with maintaining a living.
  • v. To break or chip off in a flake.
  • v. To prove unreliable or impractical; to abandon or desert, to fail to follow through.
  • v. To store an item such as rope in layers
  • v. to hit (another person).
  • n. Dogfish.
  • n. The meat of the gummy shark.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A paling; a hurdle.
  • n. A platform of hurdles, or small sticks made fast or interwoven, supported by stanchions, for drying codfish and other things.
  • n. A small stage hung over a vessel's side, for workmen to stand on in calking, etc.
  • n. A loose filmy mass or a thin chiplike layer of anything; a film; flock; lamina; layer; scale.
  • n. A little particle of lighted or incandescent matter, darted from a fire; a flash.
  • n. A sort of carnation with only two colors in the flower, the petals having large stripes.
  • n. a person who behaves strangely; a flaky{2} person.
  • n. A flat layer, or fake, of a coiled cable.
  • intransitive v. To separate in flakes; to peel or scale off.
  • transitive v. To form into flakes.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To break or separate in flakes or layers; peel or scale off: absolutely or with off.
  • To form or break into flakes: as, the frost flaked off the plaster.
  • To cover with or as with flakes; fleck.
  • n. A small flat or scale-like particle or fragment of anything; a thin fragment; a scale: as, a flake of tallow; a flake of flint; a flake of snow.
  • n. Among florists, any variety of carnation in which the petals are marked with stripes of one color upon a white ground.
  • n. A hurdle or portable framework of wicker, boards, or bars, for fencing; a fence; a paling.
  • n. Nautical, a small stage hung over a ship's side, from which to calk or repair any breach.
  • n. A platform for drying salted fish; a fish-flake.
  • n. A rack for bacon.
  • n. A wooden frame for oat-cakes.
  • n. A sort of flap fastened to a saddle to keep the rider's knee from contact with the horse.
  • n. Same as fake.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. cover with flakes or as if with flakes
  • v. come off in flakes or thin small pieces
  • n. a crystal of snow
  • n. a small fragment of something broken off from the whole
  • v. form into flakes
  • n. a person with an unusual or odd personality


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English.
Middle English fleke, from Old Norse fleki, hurdle, shield used for defense in battle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English flake ("a flake of snow"), from Old English *flacca, from Old Norse flak ("loose or torn piece"), from Proto-Germanic *flakan (“something flat”), from Proto-Indo-European *pele- (“flat, broad, plain”). Cognate with Norwegian flak ("slice, sliver", literally "piece torn off"), Swedish flak ("a thin slice"), Danish flage ("flake"), German Flocke ("flake"), Dutch vlak ("smooth surface, plain") and vlok ("flake"), Latin plaga ("flat surface, district, region").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

A name given to dogfish to improve its marketability as a food, perhaps from etymology 1.



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  • In Newfoundland, a platform built on poles and spread with boughs for drying codfish on land.

    December 10, 2007