verb (used with object)
to strip off the skin or outer covering of.
to criticize or scold with scathing severity.
to deprive or strip of money or property.

before 900; Middle English flen, Old English flēan; cognate with Middle Dutch vlaen, Old Norse flā

flayer, noun
unflayed, adjective

2. castigate, excoriate, upbraid, chew out.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
flay (fleɪ)
1.  to strip off the skin or outer covering of, esp by whipping; skin
2.  to attack with savage criticism
3.  to strip of money or goods, esp by cheating or extortion
[Old English flēan; related to Old Norse flā to peel, Lithuanian plešti to tear]

fley or flay (fleɪ)
1.  to be afraid or cause to be afraid
2.  (tr) to frighten away; scare
[Old English āflēgan to put to flight; related to Old Norse fleygja]
flay or flay
[Old English āflēgan to put to flight; related to Old Norse fleygja]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

O.E. flean "to skin" (strong verb, pt. flog, pp. flagen), from P.Gmc. *flakhanan (cf. M.Du. vlaen, O.N. fla), from PIE root *plak- (cf. Gk. plessein "to strike"). Related: Flayed; flaying.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Flay is a longtime racehorse owner and fan of the sport.
Flay notes that his version omits the traditional pork.
With a snarl of rage he turned and his long arms began to flay the air.
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