from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The soft tissue of the body of a vertebrate, covering the bones and consisting mainly of skeletal muscle and fat.
  • n. The surface or skin of the human body.
  • n. The meat of animals as distinguished from the edible tissue of fish or fowl.
  • n. Botany The pulpy, usually edible part of a fruit or vegetable.
  • n. Excess fatty tissue; plumpness.
  • n. The body as opposed to the mind or soul.
  • n. The physical or carnal nature of humankind.
  • n. Sensual appetites.
  • n. Humankind in general; humanity.
  • n. One's family; kin.
  • n. Substance; reality: "The maritime strategy has an all but unstoppable institutional momentum behind it . . . that has given force and flesh to the theory” ( Jack Beatty).
  • transitive v. To give substance or detail to; fill out: fleshed out the novel with a subplot.
  • transitive v. To clean (a hide) of adhering flesh.
  • transitive v. To encourage (a falcon, for example) to participate in the chase by feeding it flesh from a kill.
  • transitive v. To inure to battle or bloodshed.
  • transitive v. To plunge or thrust (a weapon) into flesh.
  • intransitive v. To become plump or fleshy; gain weight.
  • idiom in the flesh Alive.
  • idiom in the flesh In person; present.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The soft tissue of the body, especially muscle and fat.
  • n. Bare arms, bare legs, bare torso.
  • n. Animal tissue regarded as food; meat.
  • n. The human body as a physical entity.
  • n. The mortal body of a human being, contrasted with the spirit or soul.
  • n. The evil and corrupting principle working in man.
  • n. The skin of a human or animal.
  • n. The soft, often edible, parts of fruits or vegetables.
  • n. A yellowish pink colour; the colour of some Caucasian human skin.
  • v. To bury (something, especially a weapon) in flesh.
  • v. To put flesh on; to fatten.
  • v. To add details.
  • v. to remove the flesh from the skin during the making of leather.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The aggregate of the muscles, fat, and other tissues which cover the framework of bones in man and other animals; especially, the muscles.
  • n. Animal food, in distinction from vegetable; meat; especially, the body of beasts and birds used as food, as distinguished from fish.
  • n. The human body, as distinguished from the soul; the corporeal person.
  • n. The human eace; mankind; humanity.
  • n. Human nature.
  • n. In a good sense, tenderness of feeling; gentleness.
  • n. In a bad sense, tendency to transient or physical pleasure; desire for sensual gratification; carnality.
  • n. The character under the influence of animal propensities or selfish passions; the soul unmoved by spiritual influences.
  • n. Kindred; stock; race.
  • n. The soft, pulpy substance of fruit; also, that part of a root, fruit, and the like, which is fit to be eaten.
  • transitive v. To feed with flesh, as an incitement to further exertion; to initiate; -- from the practice of training hawks and dogs by feeding them with the first game they take, or other flesh. Hence, to use upon flesh (as a murderous weapon) so as to draw blood, especially for the first time.
  • transitive v. To glut; to satiate; hence, to harden, to accustom.
  • transitive v. To remove flesh, membrance, etc., from, as from hides.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A substance forming a large part of an animal body, consisting of the softer solids which constitute muscle and fat, as distinguished from the bones, the skin, the membranes, and the fluids; in the most restricted sense, muscular tissue alone.
  • n. Animal food, in distinction from vegetable; in the most restricted sense, the substance of beasts and fowls used as food, as distinguished from fish.
  • n. The body, as distinguished from the soul; the corporeal person.
  • n. Man, or the human race; mankind; humanity.
  • n. Man's animal or physical nature, as distinguished from or opposed to his moral or spiritual nature; the body as the seat of appetite: a Biblical use: as, to mortify the flesh.
  • n. Kindred; stock; family; near relative or relatives.
  • n. In botany, the soft cellular or pulpy substance of a fruit or vegetable, as distinguished from the kernel or core, skin, shell, etc.
  • n. In Scripture, to be under the control of the animal nature: opposed to spiritual.
  • Consisting of animal substance not fish: as, a flesh diet.
  • To feed full with flesh, and hence with fleshly enjoyments, spoil, etc.
  • To encourage by giving flesh to; initiate to the taste of flesh: with reference to the practice of training hawks and dogs by feeding them with the first game they take, or other flesh; hence, to introduce or incite to battle or carnage.
  • In leather manufacturing, to remove flesh, fat, and loose membrane from the flesh side of, as skins and hides.
  • To clothe with flesh; make fleshy.
  • To become more fleshy, as one who has been ill and is convalescent: used with up.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a soft moist part of a fruit
  • v. remove adhering flesh from (hides) when preparing leather manufacture
  • n. the soft tissue of the body of a vertebrate: mainly muscle tissue and fat
  • n. alternative names for the body of a human being


Middle English, from Old English flǣsc.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English flǣsc, from Proto-Germanic *flaisk-, from Proto-Indo-European *pleh₁ḱ (“to tear, peel off”). Compare Old High German "fleisk" (German "Fleisch"). (Wiktionary)



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