\ ˈflesh How to pronounce flesh (audio) \

Definition of flesh

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the soft parts of the body of an animal and especially of a vertebrate especially : the parts composed chiefly of skeletal muscle as distinguished from internal organs, bone, and integument
b : the condition of having ample fat on the body cattle in good flesh
c : skin
2a : edible parts of an animal
b : flesh of a mammal or fowl eaten as food
3a : the physical nature of human beings the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak — Matthew 26:41 (King James Version)
4a : human beings : humankind
b : living beings
c : stock, kindred
5 : a fleshy plant part used as food also : the fleshy part of a fruit
6 Christian Science : an illusion that matter has sensation
7 : facts or details that provide substance to something Her careful documentation puts the necessary flesh on much that has been merely speculation …— John H. Crook
in the flesh
: in person and alive


fleshed; fleshing; fleshes

Definition of flesh (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to initiate or habituate especially by giving a foretaste
2 archaic : gratify
3a : to clothe or cover with or as if with flesh broadly : to give substance to usually used with out flesh out a plan
b : to make fuller or more nearly complete used with out museums fleshing out their collections with borrowed works
4 : to free from flesh

intransitive verb

: to become fleshy often used with up or out

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Synonyms for flesh

Synonyms: Noun


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Examples of flesh in a Sentence


the flabby white flesh of his belly a disease that causes sores on the flesh

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But the sensation is uniquely tactile, not at all unpleasant, as thousands of soft, plump grubs, each the size of a grain of rice, wriggle against your skin, tiny mouthparts gently poking your flesh. Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post, "Maggots: A taste of food’s future," 3 July 2019 Because the woman’s body was already mostly bone when it was found, there was no way to see signs of possible trauma on her flesh, the medical examiner said. Fox News, "Remains found in suitcase in 2016 finally ID'd using new technology, police say," 30 June 2019 Not to be outdone, Fulton’s smoky Japanese sweet potato offered both a stunning, deeply elemental taste sensation and a treat for the eyes with its purple flesh, shocking white horseradish and dainty chive blossoms. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "An early taste of Pernoi, one of metro Detroit's most anticipated restaurants ever," 19 June 2019 The quality of the birds was evident in their firm flesh and clean, white skin. Michael Ruhlman, New York Times, "If It’s Sunday in Southeastern Indiana, Order the Fried Chicken," 18 June 2019 For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. John Hirschauer, National Review, "What Is Pope Francis Saying about Communion?," 10 June 2019 Its flesh has an unusually pale yellow/green color and has a high oil content. Kurt Snibbe, The Mercury News, "How California avocados have a global influence," 8 June 2019 There was only every single ant’s explicit sting in the cache of what my flesh had recollected. Justin Phillip Reed, The New Republic, "This Is Really Happening," 6 June 2019 India made them the star of many dishes, adding bright chiles and spices to perfume their starchy flesh. Emily Spicer, ExpressNews.com, "Give your potato salad a global upgrade this cookout season," 4 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

There's a limited cast of characters and locations, relying on strong writing and performances from the actors to flesh out and illuminate the broader themes and ideas. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "I Am Mother envisions a dark future world where AI is almost human," 13 June 2019 But its arrival means that AMD has fully fleshed out its lineup that will take on Intel’s 9th-gen chips. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "AMD's Ryzen 9 3950X is a 16-core CPU aiming to topple Intel's gaming dominance," 10 June 2019 Miranda joins an already fleshed out cast that includes Marc Anthony as Sonny’s father and Anthony Ramos as bodega owner Usnavi — a role Miranda himself played on Broadway — while Straight Outta Compton‘s Corey Hawkins will play the role of Benny. Ruth Kinane, EW.com, "Lin-Manuel Miranda joins the cast of his In The Heights movie adaptation," 14 June 2019 Ubisoft showed up in a big way with The Division II and Ghost Recon, and a few smaller indies fleshed out the presentation. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Google's play-anywhere Stadia game service gets a Founder's Edition bundle, pricing, and more," 6 June 2019 Adapting a novella gave her the opportunity to flesh out the central character, including his relationship with his mother, who suffers from dementia. Christopher Wallenberg, BostonGlobe.com, "Lynn Ramsay goes her own way," 5 Apr. 2018 The letter was dated July 6, when Mr. Pompeo arrived in Pyongyang for two days of talks that were intended to flesh out the general understandings that were announced at the summit. Jessica Donati, WSJ, "U.S., North Korea Meet Again to Discuss War Remains," 15 July 2018 Long plastic sheets with outlines of the city bisect the floor of the stage, and projections of drawings on the rear wall further flesh out her tales of life in her beloved homeland. Kerry Reid, chicagotribune.com, "'Ofrenda': Themes of 'home' and 'offering' get the distinctive Albany Park Theatre treatment," 3 May 2018 To flesh out Circe’s story, Ms. Miller looked beyond the Odyssey and consulted a handful of ancient texts. Alexandra Alter, New York Times, "Circe, a Vilified Witch From Classical Mythology, Gets Her Own Epic," 6 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flesh.' 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 flesh


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


1530, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for flesh


Middle English, from Old English flǣsc; akin to Old High German fleisk flesh and perhaps to Old English flēan to flay — more at flay

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More Definitions for flesh



English Language Learners Definition of flesh

: the soft parts of the body of an animal or person
: the skin of a person
: parts of an animal used as food


\ ˈflesh How to pronounce flesh (audio) \

Kids Definition of flesh

1 : the soft parts of an animal's or person's body
2 : the part of an animal that is eaten : meat
3 : a soft edible plant part an apple's white flesh


\ ˈflesh How to pronounce flesh (audio) \

Medical Definition of flesh

: the soft parts of the body of an animal and especially of a vertebrate especially : the parts composed chiefly of skeletal muscle as distinguished from visceral structures, bone, and integuments — see goose bumps, proud flesh

Other Words from flesh

fleshed \ ˈflesht How to pronounce fleshed (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on flesh

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flesh

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flesh

Spanish Central: Translation of flesh

Nglish: Translation of flesh for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flesh for Arabic Speakers

Comments on flesh

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


to complain fretfully

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