American English

Definition of flesh noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[uncountable] the soft substance between the skin and bones of animal or human bodies The trap had cut deeply into the rabbit's flesh. Tigers are flesh-eating animals. the smell of rotting flesh
  2. 2[uncountable] the skin of the human body She gently stroked the soft flesh of the baby's arm. flesh-colored (= the color of white people's skin)
  3. 3[uncountable] the soft part of fruit and vegetables, especially when it is eaten the sweet flesh of a mango
  4. 4the flesh [singular] (literary) the human body when considering its physical and sexual needs, rather than the mind or soul the pleasures/sins of the flesh
  5. Idioms
    flesh and blood
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    when you say that someone is flesh and blood, you mean that they are a normal human with needs, emotions, and weaknesses Listening to the cries was more than flesh and blood could stand.
    your (own) flesh and blood
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    a person that you are related to You can't do that to your own flesh and blood!
    go the way of all flesh (saying)
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    to die
    in the flesh
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    if you see someone in the flesh, you are in the same place as them and actually see them rather than just seeing a picture of them
    make your flesh crawl/creep
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    to make you feel afraid or full of disgust Just the sight of him makes my flesh crawl.
    (have, get, want, etc.) your pound of flesh
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    the full amount that someone owes you, even if this will cause them trouble or suffering You're determined to have your pound of flesh, aren't you? From Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, in which the moneylender Shylock demanded a pound of flesh from Antonio's body if he could not pay back the money he borrowed.
    press (the) flesh (informal)
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    (of a famous person or politician) to say hello to people by shaking hands
    put flesh on (the bones of) something
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    to develop a basic idea, etc. by giving more details to make it more complete The strength of the book is that it puts flesh on the bare bones of this argument.
    the spirit is willing (but the flesh is weak) (humorous) (saying)
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    you intend to do good things but you are too lazy, weak, or busy to actually do them
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: flesh