flyt·​ing | \ ˈflī-tiŋ How to pronounce flyting (audio) \

Definition of flyting

: a dispute or exchange of personal abuse in verse form

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Flyting in 15th- and 16th-century Scotland is analogous to a modern-day rap competition during which rappers improvise clever disses and put-downs against their opponents. Similarly, the makars (a Scottish word for "poets") engaged in verbal duels in which they voiced extravagant invectives in verse against their rivals. The base of flyting is the ancient verb flyte (also spelled flite), meaning "to contend" or "to quarrel."

Examples of flyting in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Dunbar and Kennedy supposedly faced off for a flyting in the court of James IV of Scotland around 1500, and their exchange was set down for posterity in Bannatyne's manuscript. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 6 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flyting.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of flyting

1508, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for flyting

Scots, literally, contention, gerund of flyte to contend, argue, from Middle English fliten, from Old English flītan; akin to Old High German flīzan to argue

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The first known use of flyting was in 1508

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Cite this Entry

“Flyting.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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