fly·​blown | \ ˈflī-ˌblōn How to pronounce flyblown (audio) \

Definition of flyblown

1a : not pure : tainted a world flyblown with the vices of irresponsible power— V. L. Parrington
b : not bright and new : seedy, moth-eaten
c : trite, hackneyed a long list of flyblown metaphorsHorizon
2a : infested with eggs or young larvae of a flesh fly or blowfly
b : covered with flyspecks

Did You Know?

One meaning of blow (used mostly, it seems, by 17th century entomologists) is "to deposit eggs or larvae on"-hence the blowfly, which lays its eggs on meat or wounds. Flyblown has its origins in the very unpleasant image of a blowfly's victim, and it's from this literal meaning that the more common senses come. Phrases such as flyblown shack and flyblown restaurant still suggest the actual presence of flies, if not necessarily their embryonic precursors.

First Known Use of flyblown

1528, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of flyblown was in 1528

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Cite this Entry

“Flyblown.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce flyblown (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of flyblown

chiefly British : in poor and dirty condition : made dirty by flies : not suitable for eating


fly·​blown | \ -ˌblōn How to pronounce flyblown (audio) \

Medical Definition of flyblown

1 : infested with flyblows
2 : covered with flyspecks

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