whale away

Idioms & Phrases

whale away

Attack physically or verbally, as in Our boys whaled away at the enemy, or The talk-show host whaled away at the hostile critics. The word whale here does not allude to the ocean mammal, but means "flog" or "thrash." [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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