Posted by: Jack Henry | December 5, 2012

Editor’s Corner: Flesh and Flush

Dear Editrix,

When I want to indicate that a plan or idea requires more detail, which of the following should I use?

· “That idea requires some fleshing out.”

· “That idea requires some flushing out.”


Finn from Flushing, NY


Dear Finn,

Let’s have a look at these two “f” words.

According to Merriam-Webster (

· Think of fleshing out a skeleton. To flesh out something is to give it substance, or to make it fuller or more nearly complete.

· To flush out something is to cause it to leave a hiding place, e.g., "The birds were flushed out of the tree." It can also be used figuratively, as in "flush out the truth."

So, if you are talking about an idea, concept, or plan that requires additional information and substance, you would use “flesh out.” If you are talking about scaring a covey of quail out of the brush (or driving the Ty-D-bowl man out of his hidey-hole), you would use “flush out.”

(Photos from

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor


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