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flail (n.)

implement for threshing grain, c. 1100, perhaps from an unrecorded Old English *flegel, which, if it existed, probably is from West Germanic *flagil (source also of Middle Dutch and Low German vlegel, Old High German flegel, German flegel), a West Germanic borrowing of Late Latin flagellum "winnowing tool, flail," in classical Latin "a whip" (see flagellum).

flail (v.)

mid-15c., "to whip, scourge," from flail (n.). Sense of "to move like a flail" is from 1873. Related: Flailed; flailing.

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Definitions of flail from WordNet
1
flail (v.)
give a thrashing to; beat hard;
Synonyms: thrash / thresh / lam
flail (v.)
move like a flail; thresh about;
Her arms were flailing
Synonyms: thresh
2
flail (n.)
an implement consisting of handle with a free swinging stick at the end; used in manual threshing;
From wordnet.princeton.edu