\ 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

Synonyms & Antonyms for flesh

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of flesh in a Sentence

Noun the flabby white flesh of his belly a disease that causes sores on the flesh
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That squash flesh gets mixed with the lentils, nuts and brown butter, along with a good dose of orange juice and zest for brightness. Washington Post, 14 Nov. 2021 These tee up a generous palate that’s vibrant with Mandarin orange acidity and joined by lemon pith and flesh, ginger, and white tea, all of which turn more savory as the mid-palate and finish roll on. Brian Freedman, Forbes, 8 Nov. 2021 Obtained from a private collector, the eight fingernail-sized steel dies, each lined with pins to form numerals, would have been pressed into prisoners' flesh with ink to brand their serial numbers, according to auctioneer Meir Tzolman. Reuters, CNN, 3 Nov. 2021 Arzner also looks candidly at the indignities endured by women during their burlesque performances—and turns a remarkably frank and disgusted spotlight onto the male spectators who ravenously stare at female flesh to feed their fantasies. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 3 Nov. 2021 End to end, the collection amounts to more than $9.3 million in horse-flesh earnings. San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Nov. 2021 The connection between the two has rarely been as clear, or as disturbing, as in Bazterrica’s near-future tale where, after a mysterious virus makes animal flesh poisonous to people, the human race makes a shocking choice — and turns to cannibalism. Graeme Mcmillan, Variety, 22 Oct. 2021 Afterward, the pumpkin’s flesh can be mashed for use in muffins or pies. Talia Soglin, chicagotribune.com, 20 Oct. 2021 This is dialogue that snaps, but satisfyingly, like wet vegetable flesh, a cucumber or a bell pepper between your teeth. Jo Livingstone, The New Republic, 15 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Evocative archival clips and photos are mixed with warm present-day interviews with Perry (now 71), his family and friends, former Maccabi teammates and colleagues, journalists and other observers to flesh out his roller-coaster trajectory. Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, 10 Nov. 2021 The committee wants to examine White House call and visitor logs, schedules and notes from top officials including former chief of staff Mark Meadows, to flesh out a full picture of the ex-President's actions in the run up to the insurrection. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 10 Nov. 2021 Separately, a bipartisan group of senators is working to flesh out a measure that would spend around $1 trillion on roads, water systems and other infrastructure projects, another Biden priority. Alan Fram, Anchorage Daily News, 14 July 2021 The book opens with a poignant forward by her husband, Daniel Evans, and an introduction by Jeff Chu, an author, editor and close friend of the couple who was recruited by Daniel to flesh out her unfinished manuscript. David Crary, ajc, 27 Oct. 2021 From there, Tankian would write lyrics, while Odadjian and Dolmayan would flesh out the rhythm section. Jeremy Gordon, Vulture, 8 Sep. 2021 The Assembly also has supported the 10% plan and plans to flesh out details of its own UC proposal in the next several days. Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 25 May 2021 Yet while New Harvest is trying to flesh out the ecosystem that might provide that basis by backing public-domain research, Perls, of Friends of the Earth, sees any federal investment in cell ag as a kind of moral hazard. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, 29 Sep. 2021 Fleabag creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge joined the writing team on the film to flesh out the female characters in the movie. Alexia Fernández, PEOPLE.com, 21 Sep. 2021

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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Time Traveler for flesh

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near flesh



flesh and blood

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Statistics for flesh

Last Updated

20 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Flesh.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flesh. Accessed 30 Nov. 2021.

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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 : meat


\ 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 flesh (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on flesh

Nglish: Translation of flesh for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flesh for Arabic Speakers


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