Flail
Flail Flail, n. [L. flagellum whip, scourge, in LL., a threshing flail: cf. OF. flael, flaiel, F. fl['e]au. See {Flagellum}.] 1. An instrument for threshing or beating grain from the ear by hand, consisting of a wooden staff or handle, at the end of which a stouter and shorter pole or club, called a swipe, is so hung as to swing freely. [1913 Webster]

His shadowy flail hath threshed the corn. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

2. An ancient military weapon, like the common flail, often having the striking part armed with rows of spikes, or loaded. --Fairholt. [1913 Webster]

No citizen thought himself safe unless he carried under his coat a small flail, loaded with lead, to brain the Popish assassins. --Macaulay. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • flail — flā(ə)l adj exhibiting abnormal mobility and loss of response to normal controls used of body parts damaged by paralysis, injury, or surgery <flail joint> * * * (flāl) exhibiting abnormal or paradoxical mobility, as flail joint, flail… …   Medical dictionary

  • flail — (n.) implement for threshing grain, c.1100, perhaps from an unrecorded O.E. *flegel, which probably represents W.Gmc. *flagil (Cf. M.Du., Low Ger. vlegel, O.H.G. flegel, Ger. flegel), a borrowing of L.L. flagellum winnowing tool, flail, from L.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • flail — [flāl] n. [ME fleil < OFr flaiel & OE * flegel, both < L flagellum, a whip, scourge: see FLAGELLATE] a farm tool consisting of a free swinging stick tied to the end of a long handle, used to thresh grain vt., vi. 1. to thresh with a flail 2 …   English World dictionary

  • flail — ► NOUN ▪ a tool or machine with a swinging action, used for threshing. ► VERB 1) swing wildly. 2) (flail around/about) flounder; struggle. ORIGIN Latin flagellum little whip …   English terms dictionary

  • flail — index beat (strike) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • flail — [v] beat, strike bash, batter, club, flog, hit, knock, lash, maltreat, pummel, slug, smack, smash, sock, thrash, thwack, whale; concepts 189,246 …   New thesaurus

  • Flail — For other uses, see flail (disambiguation). An example of a grain flail A flail is an agricultural tool used for threshing to separate grains from their husks. It is usually made from two or more large sticks attached by a short chain; one stick… …   Wikipedia

  • flail — I. noun Etymology: Middle English fleil, flail, partly from Old English *flegel (whence Old English fligel), from Late Latin flagellum flail, from Latin, whip & partly from Anglo French flael, from Late Latin flagellum more at flagellate Date:… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • flail — [[t]fle͟ɪl[/t]] flails, flailing, flailed 1) V ERG If your arms or legs flail or if you flail them about, they wave about in an energetic but uncontrolled way. His arms were flailing in all directions... [V n] He gave a choked cry, flailed his… …   English dictionary

  • flail — /flayl/, n. 1. an instrument for threshing grain, consisting of a staff or handle to one end of which is attached a freely swinging stick or bar. 2. a similar instrument used as a weapon of war. v.t., v.i. 3. to beat or swing with or as if with a …   Universalium

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