from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The side of an animal (now only of a hog) salted and cured: chiefly used in the phrase a flitch of bacon.
  • n. A steak from the side of a halibut, smoked or ready for smoking.
  • n. In carpentry, a plank or slab; especially, one of several planks fastened side by side to form a compound beam.
  • n. A strap; a doubling-plate; a fishing-bar; a metal or wooden plate bolted to a beam or girder at a joint or other weak spot, to strengthen it and keep it straight when exposed to endwise thrust.


  • Bacon and eggs would content me, but I wanted the better part of a flitch of bacon and half a hundred eggs.

    The Thirty-Nine Steps, by John Buchan

  • Nor let the supposition of matrimonial differences frighten you: honey-moon lasts not now-a-days above a fortnight; and Dunmow flitch, as I have been informed, was never claimed; though some say once it was.

    Clarissa Harlowe, by Samuel Richardson

  • Nuts for the nerves, a flitch for the flue and for to rejoice the chambers of the heart the spirits of the spice isles, curry and cinnamon, chutney and cloves.

    Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce


This word ultimately comes from the Middle Low German ‘vlicke,’ piece of flesh. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, ‘a flitch was presented every year at Dunmow,’ a town in England, ‘to any married couple who could prove they had lived together without quarreling for a year and a day, a custom mentioned as far back as mid-14c.’