\ ˈflā How to pronounce flay (audio) \
flayed; flaying; flays

Definition of flay

transitive verb

1 : to strip off the skin or surface of : skin The hunter flayed the rabbit and prepared it for cooking.
2 : to criticize harshly : excoriate He was flayed by the media for his controversial comments.
3 : lash sense 1b the wind whipped up to gale fury, flaying his face— Richard Kent

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Examples of flay in a Sentence

her husband flayed her constantly for her incessant shopping flayed their kill right there in the forest, taking both the meat and the skin home
Recent Examples on the Web But as last week’s headline mini-flap demonstrated, liberals seem impatient with the Times, too, sometimes flaying it for not pushing back on Trump more aggressively in its news coverage. Paul Farhi, Washington Post, "New York Times demotes editor after Twitter controversy as paper takes fire from left, right and within," 13 Aug. 2019 Other works depict elephants killed for their tusks and trees flayed of their bark. Washington Post, "Judy Chicago contemplates death, and all it means, in this powerful exhibition," 8 Oct. 2019 Since then, the U.S. president has continued to flay China for the massive trade imbalance between the two nations. Tim Culpan | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Alibaba’s Office Depot Deal Won’t Help Trump’s Trade Balance," 5 Mar. 2019 Christ looked as dead as Uday Hussein, his welts dark and crusty, knees flayed, and feet, hands, and shoulder joints swollen black. Nell Zink, Harper's magazine, "The Bird Angle," 28 Oct. 2019 On Pier 52, with the warehouse flayed open and cathedral-like with light streaming in, Matta-Clark — arrest warrant notwithstanding — had imagined a public park. BostonGlobe.com, "“Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect," 4 Oct. 2019 This becomes clearer in the final scene of the episode, when flayed Billy and Heather violently attack Heather’s parents with the intent of recruiting them to join the Mind Flayer’s hive mind army. Time, "Breaking Down What Happens to Billy in Stranger Things Season 3," 4 July 2019 Not only did Hopper and Billy (Dacre Montgomery) both seemingly sacrifice themselves in order to defeat the Mind Flayer, but the rest of Hawkins’ flayed citizens were also lost in the fight. Megan Mccluskey, Time, "The Stranger Things Season 3 Ending Explained," 4 July 2019 After a few more tries, the doctor pulled it out in one piece and laid it out, legs flayed. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "She thought there was water in her ear. Turns out it was a venomous spider," 23 Aug. 2019

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

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First Known Use of flay

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for flay

Middle English flen, from Old English flēan; akin to Old Norse flā to flay, Lithuanian plėšti to tear

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Time Traveler for flay

Time Traveler

The first known use of flay was before the 12th century

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Statistics for flay

Last Updated

31 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flay.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flay. Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for flay


How to pronounce flay (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of flay

: to beat or whip (someone or something) in a very violent and severe way


\ ˈflā How to pronounce flay (audio) \
flayed; flaying

Kids Definition of flay

1 : to strip off the skin or surface of
2 : to beat severely

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More from Merriam-Webster on flay

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flay

Spanish Central: Translation of flay

Nglish: Translation of flay for Spanish Speakers

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