\ 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
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 outmuseums fleshing out their collections with borrowed works
4 : to free from flesh

intransitive verb

: to become fleshy often used with up or out

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for flesh

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Fish with fins should be cooked to 145 degrees, and any shellfish should be cooked until flesh is pearly or white and opaque. 5. ExpressNews.com, "5 grilling tips for safe eating watching the holidays’ big football games," 22 Nov. 2019 The flesh was pleasant, but not particularly sweet or juicy. Grace Hwang Lynch, SFChronicle.com, "Growing a lemon tree in the Valley of the Heart’s Delight," 31 Oct. 2019 Roast in a 425° oven until skins are deep golden brown and a knife easily pierces flesh, 50–60 minutes. Alex Beggs, Bon Appétit, "Shallots: So Are They Onions Or What?," 24 Oct. 2019 With their bright red juice, deep flavor and succulent flesh, beets might as well be the official vegetable of Halloween. Addie Broyles, chicagotribune.com, "Beets, pecans, pears and honey haunt this Halloween salad," 23 Oct. 2019 Johnson deftly renders the contours and textures of human flesh, painted in a classical style. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: From artist Timothy Johnson, a heady exhibition," 18 Oct. 2019 The country looks west and sees a future that inspires and frightens, a city of progressive politics and immigrants, of homeless tents and Marvel fantasies; of God, flesh, tattoos, Cartier and lowriders. Los Angeles Times, "Why L.A. is the perpetual dark heart of crime writing," 17 Oct. 2019 Then, when a candle is placed inside the pumpkin, the light will radiate through the flesh, lending an eerie glow to the pumpkin. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Carve a Pumpkin Like a Pro," 3 Oct. 2019 Farrington immediately dove into the water, unable to see anything in the murky, dark waters and relied on touch; hoping to feel clothing or flesh, Nassau Guardian reported. Joe Mario Pedersen, orlandosentinel.com, "Bahama father tells story of losing his 5-year-old son in Hurricane Dorian storm surge: report," 6 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Chris Ronayne, chairman of the Canalway board of directors, said the organization under Cardenas will focus on interpretive projects, programs and events, and will help flesh out a framework plan for Canal Basin Park developed by the city in 2015. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Canalway Partners names new director as Tim Donovan prepares to step down," 7 Nov. 2019 Obviously, a Texas theme was emerging, and Crowell kept fleshing it out with other Texans: Ronnie Dunn, Lee Ann Womack, Randy Rogers. Nancy Kruh, PEOPLE.com, "A Coolness Magnet, Rodney Crowell Draws Willie Nelson, Ringo Starr and Other Legends to His New Album," 30 Sep. 2019 If Šarić finds the groove of his game more often, his movement and playmaking could help to flesh out the Suns’ growing offense. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Trade Grades: Suns Send Jarrett Culver to Wolves in Head-Scratching Deal," 20 June 2019 Ring has also helped Amazon to flesh out its rather creepy Key service, where users with Ring doorbells can pair up with a connected lock and choose to let people into their homes remotely. Mike Murphy, Quartz, "Amazon’s Ring may be branching out beyond outdoor cameras," 17 June 2019 That road, in usual Stephenson fashion, includes a wealth of concepts that help flesh out the near future of Fall—the one outside of Bitworld, at least. Peter Rubin, WIRED, "Neal Stephenson's Latest Book Dodges Its Scariest Premise," 4 June 2019 The spending details will be further fleshed out in the coming weeks as council considers whether to place the tax on the ballot, Brady said. Courtney Astolfi, cleveland, "Cuyahoga County proposes tax increase for health and human services," 7 Nov. 2019 Real humanity inside of it, fleshed out in a way that reflects the truth and complexity of our humanities. Cameron Glover, Allure, "Jessica Camacho Is Bringing Fearless Authenticity to Her Sci-Fi Roles," 19 Oct. 2019 His eponymous company last week fleshed out its plan to conquer the wilds on battery power, with an all-electric four-door SUV and four-door pickup truck. Wired, "Bollinger's Electric Pickup and SUV Are Made for the Mud," 8 Oct. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about flesh

Time Traveler for flesh

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for flesh

Last Updated

30 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Flesh.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fleshing. Accessed 5 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for flesh


How to pronounce flesh (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on flesh

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flesh

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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 accept, comply, or submit

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!