1

flail

noun \ ˈflāl \
Updated on: 18 Nov 2017

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

Recent Examples of flail from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology 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

Other Agriculture/Gardening Terms


2

flail

verb

Definition of flail

transitive verb
1 a : to strike with or as if with a flail
  • The bird's wings flailed the water.
b : to move, swing, or beat as if wielding a flail
  • flailing a club to drive away the insects
2 : to thresh (grain) with a flail
intransitive verb
: to move, swing, or beat like a flail
  • arms flailing in the water

Examples of flail in a Sentence

  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.

Recent Examples of flail from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of flail

see 1flail


FLAIL Defined for English Language Learners

flail

noun

Definition of flail for English Language Learners

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


flail

verb

Definition of flail for English Language Learners

  • : 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


FLAIL Defined for Kids

1

flail

verb \ ˈflāl \

Definition of flail for Students

flailed; flailing
1 : to wave the arms or legs wildly
2 : to swing something with a violent motion

2

flail

noun

Definition of flail for Students

: a tool for threshing grain by hand

Medical Dictionary

flail

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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