\ 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 For his part, Mr. Cunningham is happy to flay Mr. Tillis, but has little appetite to elevate the national stakes. Jonathan Martin, New York Times, "The White House, Senate and Supreme Court Could All Hinge on North Carolina," 23 Sep. 2020 Cunningham is happy to flay Tillis, but has little appetite to elevate the national stakes. Jonathan Martin New York Times, Star Tribune, "North Carolina plays a crucial role in presidential race, battle for Senate control," 22 Sep. 2020 Separating fact from invention is difficult, but there are rumors that there was more than one murderer, the killing was drug-related and perhaps most disturbingly, that Driscoll was either dismembered or flayed alive. Alex Heigl, PEOPLE.com, "14 Music Greats Who Died Mysterious Deaths," 11 Dec. 2019 The Indians tie Clyde to the Skinning Tree and flay him alive. Jennifer Percy, Harper's magazine, "The Skinning Tree," 20 Jan. 2020 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

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

Cite this Entry

“Flay.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flay. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for flay



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

More from Merriam-Webster on flay

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flay

Nglish: Translation of flay for Spanish Speakers

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