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flay (verb) strip off skin; whip severely enough to make the skin come off; criticize severely.
In the olden days criminals were flayed for certain offenses, that is, they were skinned alive. It was really a brutal punishment to remove the skin of a person alive. When you whip a person severely enough to make their skin come off, you flay them. When you criticize a person or a policy you flay them or it. 'The opposition flayed the government policy proposing to reduce old age pensions.' This means that the opposition criticized the government for reducing old age pensions.
- It is the belief of all gamesmen that no tiger can be considered dead and harmless until it is flayed, and the skin is dried.
- The parents flayed the school authorities for being too severe in punishing the students. Some of the parents showed their disapproval by withdrawing their children from the school.