noun \ˈflāl\

: a long-handled tool that was used in the past for beating wheat so that the grain would become separated from the wheat

Full Definition of FLAIL

:  a hand threshing implement consisting of a wooden handle at the end of which a stouter and shorter stick is so hung as to swing freely

Origin of FLAIL

Middle English fleil, flail, partly from Old English *flegel (whence Old English fligel), from Late Latin flagellum flail, from Latin, whip & partly from Anglo-French flael, from Late Latin flagellum — more at flagellate
First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Agriculture/Gardening Terms

fallow, graft, heirloom, loam, potash, soilage, swath, tilth, windfall



: to move or swing your arms or legs in a wild and uncontrolled way

: to strike or hit (something or someone) in a wild and uncontrolled way

Full Definition of FLAIL

transitive verb
a :  to strike with or as if with a flail <arms flailing the water>
b :  to move, swing, or beat as if wielding a flail <flailing a club to drive away the insects>
:  to thresh (grain) with a flail
intransitive verb
:  to move, swing, or beat like a flail

Examples of FLAIL

  1. They were flailing their arms to drive away the insects.
  2. The wounded animal lay on the ground, flailing helplessly.
  3. He was wildly flailing about on the dance floor.
  4. The bird's wings flailed the water.

First Known Use of FLAIL

15th century
FLAILED Defined for Kids


verb \ˈflāl\

Definition of FLAIL for Kids

:  to wave the arms or legs wildly
:  to swing something with a violent motion



Definition of FLAIL for Kids

:  a tool for threshing grain by hand
Medical Dictionary


adjective \ˈflā(ə)l\

Medical Definition of FLAIL

:  exhibiting abnormal mobility and loss of response to normal controls—used of body parts damaged by paralysis, injury, or surgery <flail joint>


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