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EnglishEdit

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

EtymologyEdit

From Middle English flaile, flayle, from earlier fleil, fleyl, fleȝȝl, flegl, from Old English fligel, *flegel (flail), from Proto-Germanic *flagilaz (flail, whip), of uncertain origin. Perhaps related to Old French fil and Latin fīlum ("a fine thread or wire, a filament", i.e. a defiling instrument for the thrashing of a wire). 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 word from Proto-Germanic *flag-, *flah- (to whip, beat), from Proto-Indo-European *pleh₂k- (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), Walloon flayea (flail) (locally pronounced "flai"), Italian flagello (scourge, whip, plague).

PronunciationEdit

  • IPA(key): /fleɪl/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪl

NounEdit

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.

SynonymsEdit

QuotationsEdit

TranslationsEdit

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 Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Coordinate termsEdit

VerbEdit

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
    Synonym: thrash
    • 2011 October 20, Michael da Silva, “Stoke 3 - 0 Macc Tel-Aviv”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      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.

TranslationsEdit

See alsoEdit