Definition of flesh in English:

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Pronunciation: /flɛʃ/


[mass noun]
1The soft substance consisting of muscle and fat that is found between the skin and bones of a human or an animal: she grabbed Anna’s arm, her fingers sinking into the flesh
More example sentences
  • I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids - I might even be said to possess a mind.
  • He reached out and grabbed his wife's shoulder here, pushing his fingers into the soft crevice of flesh over bone.
  • Jim felt the pulsing of the sun as its heat, magnified by the window it was pouring through, met with soft flesh and willing muscle.
muscle, tissue, muscle tissue, meat, brawn
informal beef
1.1The flesh of an animal, regarded as food: the food an animal eats will affect the taste and texture of its flesh
More example sentences
  • A ‘vegetarian’ is a person who does not eat meat, fish, foul or any food derived from the flesh of animals.
  • Sea bass is a silvery grey fish with succulent white flesh.
  • Glamorgan sausages contain neither flesh nor fish nor fowl, but cheese and leeks.
1.2The edible pulpy part of a fruit or vegetable: halve the avocados and scrape out the flesh
More example sentences
  • If you timed it right you could spend a good part of the day out of the sun with cool pulpy grape flesh oozing between your toes.
  • Cut a ripe kiwi fruit in half and squeeze it over the squid, letting both the juice and flesh of the fruit drop into the bowl.
  • Put the onions, garlic, aubergine flesh, the lemon juice and seasoning into a food processor and whiz until it begins to become a purée.
pulp, soft part, fleshy part, marrow, meat
1.3The skin or surface of the human body with reference to its appearance or sensory properties: she gasped as the cold water hit her flesh
More example sentences
  • There was the sound of flesh hitting other flesh and a body falling to the ground.
  • His skin had felt deliciously cool against her heated flesh as his hard body moved against hers.
  • This Skin Firming Moisturiser with seaweed extract and caffeine promises to firm up flabby flesh and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
1.4 (the flesh) The human body and its physical needs and desires, especially as contrasted with the mind or the soul: I have never been one to deny the pleasures of the flesh
More example sentences
  • The old man once walked in trespasses and sins according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.
  • In contrast to the previous evening the pleasures of the flesh were much in evidence.
  • With crew members leading a lonely existence and having to stay away from their family for days together, they are tempted to give in to the pleasures of the flesh.
the body, the human body, human nature, man's physical nature, physicality, corporeality, carnality, animality;
sensuality, sensualism, sexuality
1.5A light brownish pink colour: acrylic paints in flesh, red, and pink
More example sentences
  • I find colourizing an area in a flesh colour is often insufficient.
  • As a side effect, the flesh tones look a few shades too ruddy.


1 [no object] (flesh out) Put weight on: he had fleshed out to a solid 220 pounds
More example sentences
  • However, in the previous months, Terri had gained a little weight, the hollows of her face and her neck fleshing out.
  • As his body has filled out, his personality has fleshed out with it.
put on weight, gain weight, get heavier, grow fat/fatter, fatten up, get fat, fill out;
thicken, widen, broaden, expand, spread out
1.1 [with object] (flesh something out) Add more details to something which only exists in a draft or outline form: the arguments were fleshed out by the minister
More example sentences
  • Now a survey detailing ground levels, boundaries and drainage will be carried out so that outline plans can be fleshed out in to detailed designs.
  • Further details of the move will be fleshed out at a press conference today.
  • It refutes clichés by making them specific and adding details, fleshing them out into their own incidents.
expand (on), elaborate on, add to, build on, add flesh to, put flesh on (the bones of), add detail to, expatiate on, supplement, reinforce, augment, extend, broaden, develop, fill out, enlarge on, embellish, embroider, enhance, amplify, refine, improve, polish, perfect
2 [with object] Stimulate (a hound or hawk) to hunt by feeding it a piece of flesh from a recently killed animal: I have fleshed my bloodhound
2.1 literary Accustom to bloodshed or warfare: he fleshed his troops with enterprises against the enemy’s posts
3 [with object] (often as noun fleshing) Remove the flesh adhering to (a skin or hide): after fleshing, the hide is soaked again



all flesh

All human and animal life.
Example sentences
  • The bluebottle, Calliphora vomitoria, comes from the vanitas tradition in painting, of including a telling detail such as a worm eaten apple or a falling rose, as a reminder that all flesh is grass.
  • If chance be the Father of all flesh, disaster is his rainbow in the sky
  • And all flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died.

go the way of all flesh

Die or come to an end: the film has gone the way of all flesh after being slated by the critics
More example sentences
  • Hopes have been consistently dashed as companies that betokened efforts to compete with Hollywood went the way of all flesh.
  • My iPod went the way of all flesh (and has successfully been brought back to life).
  • For years I made do with a tape copy after the original vinyl went the way of all flesh.

in the flesh

In person or (of a thing) in its actual state: they decided that they should meet Alexander in the flesh
More example sentences
  • Reminds me though, I once had a lunch with a blind colleague whom I'd spoken to on the phone a lot but not met in the flesh before.
  • Not only does he not want journalists to meet people in the flesh, he will actively discourage them from doing any such thing.
  • At any rate, it turns out that I have recently met another blogger, in the flesh.
in person, before one's eyes, in front of one, before one's very eyes, in one's presence;
in real life, in actual life, live;
physically, bodily, in bodily/human form, incarnate

lose flesh

archaic Become thinner.
Example sentences
  • And by squeezing out successively higher rungs of the lower and middle classes, our city's own public life loses flesh.

make someone's flesh crawl (or creep)

another way of saying make someone's skin crawl (see skin).
Example sentences
  • His object, between now and May 5, is to make the nation 's flesh creep.
  • Even in a movie with basically no dialogue, she made my flesh crawl.
  • I don't know about you but it made my flesh crawl.

one flesh

Used to refer to the spiritual and physical union of two people in a relationship, especially marriage: my body is his, his is mine: one flesh
With biblical allusion to Gen. 2:24
More example sentences
  • Man and wife, by their marriage union, become one flesh; Christ and true believers, by this union, become one spirit.
  • But we must remember the Lord's stress that marriage is the union of one flesh.
  • Children express the two in one flesh of marriage.

put flesh on (the bones of) something

Add more details to something: he has yet to put flesh on his ‘big idea’
More example sentences
  • There were a lot of details left to be sorted out to put flesh on the bones.
  • The National Museum of Scotland is putting flesh on the bones of the tale this summer, with a major exhibition that looks at both the family's public and private life.
  • It was one of those pieces of legislation - a policy which was introduced very quickly, and we are now putting flesh on the bones of that particular policy.

put on flesh

Put on weight.
Example sentences
  • The hope is, however, that this skeleton will put on flesh as time goes by.
  • Confined to factory farms and genetically manipulated so that they put on flesh fast, their legs and hearts get so heavy in a few weeks that they can barely move to reach for food and water.

sins of the flesh

archaic or humorous Sins related to physical indulgence, especially sexual gratification.
Example sentences
  • That's what the aristocrats of 18 th-century Venice did when they celebrated Carnevale, their last chance to indulge the sins of the flesh before Lent.
  • But a PR sweetie of my acquaintance, based in North Yorkshire, is suffering from the amazing safeguards imposed by her employers to protect the world from the sins of the flesh.
  • It was seen as a blissful cornucopia of earthly blessings, easily accessible high-quality sins of the flesh, and delights of the spirit.



Pronunciation: /ˈflɛʃ(ə)ləs/
Example sentences
  • The other one, Ravi, was very thin, almost fleshless and mentally weak.
  • Buried in shallow trenches, the fleshless skeletons were exhumed right after the war.
  • To compensate for his size, he instead had the looks of a necromancer, with a fleshless bony body that held a few rotting strands of skin onto it.


Old English flǣsc, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vlees and German Fleisch.

  • The most tangible part of the human body is flesh, and since the Middle Ages people have described their children, brothers, sisters, and other family members as their own flesh and blood. In the Book of Genesis God takes out one of Adam's ribs when he was sleeping, and made it into a woman, Eve. Adam said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ To go the way of all flesh is to die. It is from a 17th-century English translation of the Bible, which in most bibles is rendered as ‘Go the way of all the earth’. Fleshpots (early 16th century), ‘places providing luxurious living’, also come from the Bible, in which they are literally pots in which meat is boiled. In the book of Exodus, when the Israelites are making their laborious way through the desert after their escape from Egypt, they lament, ‘Would to God that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full.’

Words that rhyme with flesh

afresh, Andhra Pradesh, Bangladesh, crème fraîche, enmesh, fresh, intermesh, Kesh, Madhya Pradesh, Marrakesh, mesh, nesh, thresh, Uttar Pradesh

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: flesh

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