follow Dictionary.com

Is Tuesday named for a one-handed god?

flail

[fleyl] /fleɪl/
noun
1.
an instrument for threshing grain, consisting of a staff or handle to one end of which is attached a freely swinging stick or bar.
2.
a similar instrument used as a weapon of war.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
3.
to beat or swing with or as if with a flail.
Origin
1100
before 1100; Middle English fleil (noun), Old English flighel (probably misspelling of *flegil), cognate with Dutch vlegel, German Flegel < West Germanic *flagil- < Late Latin flagellum flail, Latin: whip, scourge. See flagellum
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for flailing
  • But many are concerned not so much about a failed president as about a flailing nation.
  • Most people timidly jump off the bungee cord, flailing a bit.
  • To me this sounds much more logical than being tickled by a phantom flailing faller.
  • Six biologists enter the pen shouting and flailing their arms, shooing the condors into holding cells.
  • But if there's too much flying meat onscreen to render all at once, the game falls back on preset flailing animations.
  • Beset by shrinking advertising revenues, newspaper companies have been flailing to find solutions to prop up their income.
  • In your flailing about, you haven't grasped my essential point.
  • They'd inevitably portray the player as a spastic in mid-seizure, flailing away on a joystick while jumping and twitching.
  • She ran off, flailing the limp trophy as if she were.
  • He also kept flailing into my side of the lane, in part because to say that his form sucks would be a step up.
British Dictionary definitions for flailing

flail

/fleɪl/
noun
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
verb
3.
(transitive) 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
Word Origin
C12 fleil, ultimately from Late Latin flagellum flail, from Latin: whip
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for flailing

flail

n.

"implement for threshing grain," c.1100, perhaps from an unrecorded Old English *flegel, which probably represents West Germanic *flagil (cf. Middle Dutch and Low German vlegel, Old High German flegel, German flegel), a borrowing of Late Latin flagellum "winnowing tool, flail," from Latin flagellum "whip" (see flagellum).

v.

15c., from flail (n.); originally "to scourge;" sense of "to move like a flail" is from 1874. Related: Flailed; flailing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
flailing in Medicine

flail (flāl)
v. flailed, flail·ing, flails

  1. To move vigorously or erratically; thrash about.

  2. To strike or lash out violently.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for flailing

flail

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).

Learn more about flail with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for flail

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for flailing

12
16
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with flailing

Nearby words for flailing