|1.||an implement used for threshing grain, consisting of a wooden handle with a free-swinging metal or wooden bar attached to it|
|2.||a weapon so shaped used in the Middle Ages|
|3.||(tr) to beat or thrash with or as if with a flail|
|4.||to move or be moved like a flail; thresh about: with arms flailing|
|[C12 fleil, ultimately from Late Latin flagellum flail, from Latin: whip]|
v. flailed, flail·ing, flails
To move vigorously or erratically; thrash about.
To strike or lash out violently.
ancient hand tool for threshing grain. It consists of two pieces of wood: the handstaff, or helve, and the beater, joined by a thong. The handstaff is a light rod several feet long, the beater a shorter piece. With a flail, one man could thresh 7 bushels of wheat, 8 of rye, 15 of barley, 18 of oats, or 20 of buckwheat in a day (one bushel equals about 35 litres). The flail remained the principal method of threshing until the mid-19th century, when mechanical threshers became widespread (see thresher).
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