flail

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

English[edit]

Peasants using flails (tool) to thresh cereal.
a flail (weapon)

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English flaile, flayle, from earlier Middle English fleil, fleyl, fleȝȝl, flegl, from Old English fligel, *flegel (flail), from Proto-Germanic *flagilaz (flail, whip), of uncertain origin. Cognate with Scots flail (a thresher's flail), West Frisian fleil, flaaiel (flail), Dutch vlegel (flail), Low German vlegel (flail), German Flegel (flail). Possibly a native Germanic form from Proto-Germanic *flag-, *flah- (to whip, beat), from Proto-Indo-European *plak-, *plāk- ("to beat, hit, strike; weep"; compare Lithuanian plàkti (to whip, lash, flog), Ancient Greek πληγνύναι (plēgnúnai, strike, hit, encounter), Latin plangō (lament", i.e. "beat one's breast)) + Proto-Germanic *-ilaz (instrumental suffix); or a borrowing of Latin flagellum, diminutive of flagrum (scourge, whip), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰlag-, *bʰlaǵ- ("to beat"; compare Old Norse blekkja (to beat, mistreat)). Compare also Old French flael (flail), Italian flagello (scourge, whip, plague).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

flail (plural flails)

  1. A tool used for threshing, consisting of a long handle with a shorter stick attached with a short piece of chain, thong or similar material.
  2. A weapon which has the (usually spherical) striking part attached to the handle with a flexible joint such as a chain.
Quotations[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Coordinate terms[edit]

Verb[edit]

flail (third-person singular simple present flails, present participle flailing, simple past and past participle flailed)

  1. (transitive) To beat using a flail or similar implement.
  2. (transitive) To wave or swing vigorously
    • 2011 October 20, Michael da Silva, “Stoke 3 - 0 Macc Tel-Aviv”, BBC Sport:
      Tangling with Ziv, Cameron caught him with a flailing elbow, causing the Israeli defender to go down a little easily. However, the referee was in no doubt, much to the displeasure of the home fans.
    • 1937, H. P. Lovecraft, The Evil Clergyman
      He stopped in his tracks – then, flailing his arms wildly in the air, began to stagger backwards.
  3. (transitive) To thresh.
  4. (intransitive) To move like a flail.
    He was flailing wildly, but didn't land a blow.

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]