- flesh (n.)
- Old English flæsc "flesh, meat," also "near kindred" (a sense now obsolete except in phrase flesh and blood), common West and North Germanic (compare Old Frisian flesk, Middle Low German vlees, German Fleisch "flesh," Old Norse flesk "pork, bacon"), of uncertain origin, perhaps from Proto-Germanic *flaiskoz-.
Figurative use for "animal or physical nature of man" (Old English) is from the Bible, especially Paul's use of Greek sarx, which yielded sense of "sensual appetites" (c.1200). Flesh-wound is from 1670s; flesh-color, the hue of "Caucasian" skin, is first recorded 1610s, described as a tint composed of "a light pink with a little yellow" [O'Neill, "Dyeing," 1862]. An Old English poetry-word for "body" was flæsc-hama, literally "flesh-home."
- flesh (v.)
- 1520s, "to render (a hunting animal) eager for prey by rewarding it with flesh from a kill," with figurative extensions, from flesh (n.). Meaning "to clothe or embody with flesh," with figurative extensions, is from 1660s. Related: Fleshed; fleshing.