Share this entry

Share this page

flay

Line breaks: flay
Pronunciation: /fleɪ
 
/

Definition of flay in English:

verb

[with object]
1Strip the skin off (a corpse or carcass): the captured general was flayed alive
More example sentences
  • His carcass was also flayed, the skin torn into pieces and sold as souvenirs.
  • A young man is suspended naked from a tree, prior to being flayed alive for daring to make music more harmonious than Apollo's.
  • Employees who do not comply will be flayed alive and slowly chopped into little pieces.
Synonyms
skin, strip the skin off
technical excoriate
1.1Strip (the skin) off a corpse or carcass: she flayed the white skin from the flesh
More example sentences
  • He would flay the flesh of unresurrected corpses and use the skin to make lampshades and chair covers and clothes.
  • Acerbus ripped him apart, flaying his skin and then breaking his bones.
  • Had the child before her been real, she would have flayed the skin from her bones with a thousand hungry spiders.
1.2Whip or beat (someone) so harshly as to remove their skin: he flayed them viciously with a branch
More example sentences
  • One held him in a firm grasp, while the guards watched from the near; and Viro faced the butte, his back naked, as the woman flayed him again and again with a horse-whip.
  • The enemy stood shocked as the heavy weapon flayed him open, and he fell to the ground.
  • They should flog him and flay him if they so desire.
1.3Criticize severely and brutally: he flayed the government for not moving fast enough on economic reform
More example sentences
  • Where I part company with many of the American critics who have flayed the film, is in their assumption that this is a thriller whose subject is murder, and which fails to deliver suspense before the killer is unmasked.
  • Could a professional game critic ever make the transition to game designer without having the games he/she produces flayed alive by the gaming press?
  • If this is something he has started doing because he is captain (remember, he was flayed in the 2003 World Cup for doing it), then it is a very curious development.
Synonyms
criticize, attack, berate, censure, condemn, denounce, denigrate, revile, castigate, pillory, belabour, lambaste, savage, tear/pull to pieces, find fault with, run down, abuse
British informal slate, rubbish, slag off, monster
North American informal pummel, cut up
Australian/New Zealand informal bag
rare excoriate

Origin

Old English flēan, of Germanic origin; related to Middle Dutch vlaen.

Derivatives

flayer

1
noun
Example sentences
  • It was an infusion of sulphur and gold, two things flayers could not stand.
  • That flayer has a sense of humor if he stuffed him in the very work that this guard came for.
  • He jumped and kicked the flayer square in the face, rolled to kill his speed, and managed to keep a firm grip on Kioshi and avoid getting gored by both her sword and the flayer's claws.

Definition of flay in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day tenebrous
Pronunciation: ˈtɛnɪbrəs
adjective
dark; shadowy or obscure