General English


  • The name for edible muscular parts of animals, for some other tissues of shellfish and crustaceans and for the edible parts of fruits


  • noun tissue containing blood, forming the part of the body which is not skin, bone or organs

Origin & History of “flesh”

The etymological notion underlying flesh, and its near relative flitch ‘side of bacon’ (OE), is of ‘slitting open and cutting up an animal’s carcase for food’. It, together with its continental cousins, German fleisch and Dutch vleesch ‘flesh’ and Swedish fläsk ‘bacon’, comes ultimately from Indo-European *pel- ‘split’. Consequently, the earliest recorded sense of the Old English word flǣsc is ‘meat’; the broader ‘soft animal tissue’, not necessarily considered as food, seems to have developed in the late Old English period.