Flush Out/Flesh Out

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Tue Apr 25 20:51:19 UTC 2006

On Apr 25, 2006, at 12:39 PM, Baker, John wrote:

>         A Google search for "flush out" gave this blog entry,
> http://www.startupnation.com/blog/entry.asp?ENTRY_ID=124, as the
> second
> choice.  It seems that a distressingly large number of people who
> commented on this blog entry do not know the meaning of "flush out,"
> which means to drive from a hiding place into the open, as a dog
> flushes
> out quail.  Many of them think it means to purge, like the flush of a
> toilet (and if enough think that, I suppose it will come to have that
> meaning).  Many simply asserted that "flesh out" is always
> correct.  Is
> this because they live in places where people do not hunt birds?  Like
> politics, it seems to be an area where lack of knowledge is no
> impediment to providing an opinion.

"flush out" for "flesh out" 'give substance or detail to' is in the
eggcorn database:


but now i see that there might be even more to the story.  "flush
out" 'purge' is of course literal.  but i suspect that lots of people
*don't* know the hunting sense.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list