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

  • n. A salted and cured side of bacon.
  • n. A longitudinal cut from the trunk of a tree.
  • n. One of several planks secured together to form a single beam.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The side of an animal, now only a pig when cured and salted; a side of bacon.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The side of a hog salted and cured; a side of bacon.
  • n. One of several planks, smaller timbers, or iron plates, which are secured together, side by side, to make a large girder or built beam.
  • n. The outside piece of a sawed log; a slab.
  • transitive v. To cut into, or off in, flitches or strips.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cut into flitches: as, to flitch hogs; to flitch halibut.
  • n. The side of an animal (now only of a hog) salted and cured: chiefly used in the phrase a flitch of bacon.
  • n. A steak from the side of a halibut, smoked or ready for smoking.
  • n. In carpentry, a plank or slab; especially, one of several planks fastened side by side to form a compound beam.
  • n. A strap; a doubling-plate; a fishing-bar; a metal or wooden plate bolted to a beam or girder at a joint or other weak spot, to strengthen it and keep it straight when exposed to endwise thrust.

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

  • n. salted and cured abdominal wall of a side of pork
  • n. fish steak usually cut from a halibut


Middle English flicche, from Old English flicce.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English fliċċe, from Proto-Germanic *flikjan. (Wiktionary)


  • A butt flitch is a lengthwise cut from the fat end of the tree (butt), near the base.

    Would You Pay $25,000 for a Piece of Wood?

  • [72] A flitch is a side of cured meat, in this case, pork.

    Robert Carter Diary, 1726

  • My second question is: can anyone tell me what a "butt flitch" is?

    Would You Pay $25,000 for a Piece of Wood?

  • He could see that the man riding toward him was plumb scared to death, looking this way and that, waiting to see a Red man flitch an arrow at him.

    He Don't Know Him

  • But I had no time to dwell as I was off to Great Dunmow pictured above, land of the medieval flitch trials, so that meant a trip off to Liverpool Street to jump on the express train to Stansted.

    2007 UK Tour (Leg One) Part Two

  • Those who can prove that they had “lived in harmony and fidelity” for the past twelve months were awarded a flitch, defined as a “salted and cured side of bacon.”

    And Today Is… - Freakonomics Blog -

  • Nuts for the nerves, a flitch for the flue and for to rejoice the chambers of the heart the spirits of the spice isles, curry and cinnamon, chutney and cloves.

    Finnegans Wake

  • Every flitch, every eye-piece, and every chine is buried under the walling; and I fed them pigs with my own hands, Master Swithin, little thinking they would come to this end.

    Two on a Tower

  • Nor let the supposition of matrimonial differences frighten you: honey-moon lasts not now-a-days above a fortnight; and Dunmow flitch, as I have been informed, was never claimed; though some say once it was.

    Clarissa Harlowe

  • Bacon and eggs would content me, but I wanted the better part of a flitch of bacon and half a hundred eggs.

    The Thirty-Nine Steps


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  • "Before the hard days of winter set in, he slaughtered the pig, and for a week stayed at home with the job of butchering. The dogs feasted on bones and scraps, and Pell roasted the head. Dogman salted the flitches and sold the rest."
    The Bride's Farewell by Meg Rosoff, p 144

    June 26, 2010

  • "... the name of a piece of small timber, supplied to ships for the purpose of sawing up into boat timber; so called, perhaps, from its small parts resembling a flitch of bacon."
    Falconer's New Universal Dictionary of the Marine (1816), 154

    Looks like maybe the bacon meaning came first, reesetee.

    October 11, 2008

  • Good good, I had to filch it.

    July 11, 2007

  • 1. A salted and cured side of bacon.
    2. A longitudinal cut from the trunk of a tree.
    3. One of several planks secured together to form a single beam.

    Wonder which meaning came first?

    July 11, 2007