\ 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 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 During its three seasons on Hulu, The Handmaid’s Tale has depicted all kinds of grim visuals: ritualized hangings, feet flayed with steel cables, women whose mouths have been bolted shut. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "When Women Are Accused of Complicity," 17 Aug. 2019 One is contested on grass as scores of limbs flay about for 90 minutes in front of thousands of passionate onlookers. Don Riddell And Daniel Gallan, CNN, "Jurgen Klopp makes waves by welcoming surfer into Liverpool camp," 21 Aug. 2019 Bloom’s favorite subject: The human body freshly released from the grip of death, often flayed and purpling, flesh turned inside out. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "This Boston artist shunned the limelight. He deserves to be famous.," 1 Aug. 2019 Bodies are flayed open, ripped apart at the ribs, viscera spilling, hung like cattle at the butcher; sores and lesions bloom on skin. Nina Maclaughlin, BostonGlobe.com, "Bodies in detail, Kipling in Vermont, and Shakespeare in the park," 18 July 2019 Gradually, more and more members of the community are flayed, and this season's Mind Flayer takes on an entirely different—and completely disgusting—form. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Stranger Things 3 Features the Show's Worst Monster Yet," 4 July 2019 And Billy is recruiting more townspeople as hosts, all with the aim of building a creature that can take out Eleven once and for all, leaving it free to flay the minds of pretty much everyone else alive. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Flay your mind: Stranger Things S3 just might be the show’s best season yet," 15 July 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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Statistics for flay

Last Updated

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for flay

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

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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

Comments on flay

What made you want to look up flay? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not being in agreement or harmony

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