Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Idioms, Encyclopedia.
a. The soft tissue of the body of a vertebrate, covering the bones and consisting mainly of skeletal muscle and fat: thought the boy needed some more flesh on his bones.
b. Such tissue of an animal, used as food: flesh of a cow; fish with white flesh.
c. The surface or skin of the human body: goosebumps on my flesh.
d. Fatty tissue: "a woman of wide and abundant flesh" (A.S. Byatt).
2. Botany The pulpy, usually edible part of a fruit or vegetable.
a. The human body: "the thousand natural shocks / That flesh is heir to" (Shakespeare).
b. Sensual appetites: gratification of the flesh.
4. 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).
v. fleshed, flesh·ing, flesh·es
1. To give substance or detail to; fill out. Often used with out: fleshed out the novel with a subplot.
2. To clean (a hide) of adhering flesh.
3. To encourage (a falcon, for example) to participate in the chase by feeding it flesh from a kill.
4. To plunge or thrust (a weapon) into flesh.
5. Archaic To inure (troops, for instance) to battle or bloodshed.
To become plump or fleshy; gain weight.
go the way of all flesh
1. To die.
2. To come to an end.
in the flesh
2. In person; present.
[Middle English, from Old English flǣsc.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.