flyt·​ing ˈflī-tiŋ How to pronounce flyting (audio)
: 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'flyting.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1508, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of flyting was in 1508


Dictionary Entries Near flyting

Cite this Entry

“Flyting.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

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