From Middle English flawe, flay (“a flake of fire or snow, spark, splinter”), probably from Old Norse flaga (“a flag or slab of stone, flake”), from Proto-Germanic *flagō (“a layer of soil”), from Proto-Indo-European *plāk- (“broad, flat”).
Cognate with Icelandic flaga (“flake”), Swedish flaga (“flake, scale”), Danish flage (“flake”), Middle Low German vlage (“a layer of soil”), Old English flōh (“a frament, piece”).
- (UK) IPA(key): /ˈflɔː/
- (US) IPA(key): /ˈflɔ/
- (cot–caught merger) IPA(key): /ˈflɑ/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɔː
- Homophone: floor (in non-rhotic accents with the horse–hoarse merger)
flaw (plural flaws)
- (obsolete) A flake, fragment, or shiver.
- (obsolete) A thin cake, as of ice.
- A crack or breach, a gap or fissure; a defect of continuity or cohesion.
- There is a flaw in that knife.
- That vase has a flaw.
- c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene iv]:
- This heart / Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws.
- A defect, fault, or imperfection, especially one that is hidden.
- 1692–1717, Robert South, Twelve Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, 6th edition, volume (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: […] J[ames] Bettenham, for Jonah Bowyer, […], published 1727, →OCLC:
- Has not this also its flaws and its dark side?
- See also Thesaurus:defect
flaw (third-person singular simple present flaws, present participle flawing, simple past and past participle flawed)
- (transitive) To add a flaw to, to make imperfect or defective.
- (intransitive) To become imperfect or defective; to crack or break.
Probably Middle Dutch vlāghe or Middle Low German vlāge. Or, of North Germanic origin, from Swedish flaga (“gust of wind”), from Old Norse flaga; all from Proto-Germanic *flagōn-. See modern Dutch vlaag (“gust of wind”).
flaw (plural flaws)
- A sudden burst or gust of wind of short duration; windflaw.
- 1667, John Milton, “Book X”, in Paradise Lost. […], London: […] [Samuel Simmons], […], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, →OCLC:
- And snow and haile and stormie gust and flaw
- 1859, Alfred Tennyson, “Enid”, in Idylls of the King, London: Edward Moxon & Co., […], →OCLC, page 41:
- Yniol with that hard message went; it fell, / Like flaws in summer laying lusty corn: […]
- A storm of short duration.
- A sudden burst of noise and disorder
- 1675, John Dryden, Aureng-zebe: A Tragedy. […], London: […] T[homas] N[ewcomb] for Henry Herringman, […], published 1676, →OCLC, (please specify the page number):
- And deluges of armies from the town / Come pouring in; I heard the mighty flaw.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
“flaw”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
- ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 1884–1928, and First Supplement, 1933.
- ^ “flaw”, in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th edition, Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, →ISBN.
- To faint.
- English terms inherited from Middle English
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