flesh

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English flesh, from Old English flǣsc, from Proto-Germanic *flaiską, from Proto-Indo-European *pleh₁ḱ- (to tear, peel off). Compare German Fleisch, Low German Fleesch, West Frisian fleis, Dutch vlees, Danish flæsk, Icelandic flesk.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

flesh (uncountable)

  1. The soft tissue of the body, especially muscle and fat.
    • 1918, Fannie Farmer, Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, Chapter XVII: Poultry and Game:
      The flesh of chicken, fowl, and turkey has much shorter fibre than that of ruminating animals, and is not intermingled with fat,—the fat always being found in layers directly under the skin, and surrounding the intestines.
  2. The skin of a human or animal.
  3. (by extension) Bare arms, bare legs, bare torso.
  4. (archaic) Animal tissue regarded as food; meat.
    • 1485, Syr Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Bk.XV, Ch.ij:
      Thenne syr launcelot sayd / fader what shalle I do / Now sayd the good man / I requyre yow take this hayre that was this holy mans and putte it nexte thy skynne / and it shalle preuaylle the gretely / syr and I wille doo hit sayd sir launcelot / Also I charge you that ye ete no flesshe as longe as ye be in the quest of the sancgreal / nor ye shalle drynke noo wyne / and that ye here masse dayly and ye may doo hit
    • c.1530s, William Tyndale, Tyndale Bible, Leviticus, 7, xix-xxi,
      The flesh that twycheth any vnclene thinge shall not be eaten. but burnt with fire:and all that be clene in their flesh, maye eate flesh.
      Yf any soule eate of the flesh of the peaceofferynges, that pertayne vnto the Lorde and hys vnclennesse yet apon him, the same soule shall perisshe from amonge his peoole[sic]. ¶ Moreouer yf a soule twych any vnclene thinge, whether it be the vnclennesse of man or of any vnclene beest or any abhominacion that is vnclene: ad the eate of the flesh of the peaceoffrynges whiche pertayne vnto the Lord, that soule shall perissh from his people.
  5. The human body as a physical entity.
    • c.1530s, William Tyndale, Tyndale Bible, Leviticus, 6, x,
      And the preast shall put on his lynen albe and his lynen breches apon his flesh, and take awaye the asshes whiche the fire of the burntsacrifice in the altare hath made, and put them besyde the alter,
  6. (religion) The mortal body of a human being, contrasted with the spirit or soul.
    • 1769, King James Bible, Oxford Standard text, Galatians, 5, xvii,
      For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
    • 1929 January, Bassett Morgan (Grace Jones), Bimini, first published in Weird Tales, reprinted 1949, in Avon Fantasy Reader, Issue 10,
      But death had no gift for me, no power to free me from flesh.
  7. (religion) The evil and corrupting principle working in man.
  8. The soft, often edible, parts of fruits or vegetables.
    • 2003, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, Arboretum America: A Philosophy of the Forest, page 81,
      The flesh of black walnuts was a protein-packed winter food carefully hoarded in tall, stilted buildings.
  9. (obsolete) Tenderness of feeling; gentleness.
    • Cowper
      There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart.
  10. (obsolete) Kindred; stock; race.
    • Bible, Genesis xxxvii. 27
      He is our brother and our flesh.
  11. A yellowish pink colour; the colour of some Caucasian human skin.
    flesh colour:    

Synonyms[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.

Verb[edit]

flesh (third-person singular simple present fleshes, present participle fleshing, simple past and past participle fleshed)

  1. (transitive) To bury (something, especially a weapon) in flesh.
    • 1933, Robert E. Howard, The Scarlet Citadel
      Give me a clean sword and a clean foe to flesh it in.
  2. (obsolete) To inure or habituate someone in or to a given practice. [16th-18th c.]
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, II.7:
      And whosoever could now joyne us together, and eagerly flesh all our people to a common enterprise, we should make our ancient military name and chivalrous credit to flourish againe.
  3. To put flesh on; to fatten.
  4. To add details.
    The writer had to go back and flesh out the climactic scene.
  5. To remove the flesh from the skin during the making of leather.

Translations[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

See flesh.

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

flesh

  1. flesh, meat

Descendants[edit]