flogged; flogging

transitive verb

: to beat with or as if with a rod or whip
The sailors were flogged for attempting a mutiny.
: to criticize harshly
He was flogged in the press for failing to take action.
: to force or urge into action : drive
chiefly British : to sell (something, such as stolen goods) illegally
flogged their employers' petrol to ordinary motoristsEconomist
: sell sense 7
traveled by horse, flogging encyclopediasRobert Darnton
flogging wares at the local discount outletRonald Henkoff
: to promote aggressively : plug
flying around the world flogging your moviesPeter Bogdanovich
British : steal sense 1

intransitive verb

: flap, flutter
sails flogging
British : to move along with difficulty : slog
flogger noun

Examples of flog in a Sentence

The sailors were flogged for attempting a mutiny. a graphic depiction of a sailor being flogged by the captain for disobeying orders
Recent Examples on the Web Terry’s adventures include flogging a married surgeon, seducing a Dubonnet-drinking widow and taking B.D.S.M. scenes with a suicidal welfare worker close to the point of no return. June Thomas, New York Times, 16 June 2023 Lines of vendors are here from dusk until dawn, eagerly flogging everything from fresh fruit to fish and fabrics. Story, CNN, 23 Apr. 2023 The novel is an exposé of the Navy’s disciplinary practices and use of flogging. Amy Sutherland, BostonGlobe.com, 11 May 2023 Ryder’s trial both by media and in the court of law serve as a microcosm of our culture at large in that Ryder was incessantly flogged by tabloids for a fairly innocuous crime, but still ultimately able to allude serious charges and penalties in large part due to her wealth and celebrity. Colin Scanlon, Redbook, 8 May 2023 Nothing like a good social media beef to flog the brand. Corey Kilgannon Dar Yaskil, New York Times, 20 Apr. 2023 But also at the same time, flogging yourself a bit. Charlie H. Stern, Rolling Stone, 2 May 2023 Video from the protests shows police aggressively flogging protesters with nightsticks. Phil McCausland, NBC News, 1 May 2023 In January, a video shot in Kandahar's football stadium that showed men and women being publicly flogged in front of thousands of onlookers caused shockwaves when it was published online. Zahid Mahmood, CNN, 19 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'flog.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


perhaps modification of Latin flagellare to whip — more at flagellate

First Known Use

circa 1676, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of flog was circa 1676

Dictionary Entries Near flog

Cite this Entry

“Flog.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flog. Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


flogged; flogging
: to beat severely with or as if with a rod or whip
flogger noun

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