Random Rambling rant

Flesh vs. Flush: It Matters

I was in a meeting last week with a guy who kept talking about flushing out his ideas and flushing out his marketing plan. Granted, some ideas should be flushed; however, I don’t think that’s what he meant.

This particular misuse of language happens all the time and drives me crazy. I think I’m a fairly reasonable person, but my patience has limits.

Here’s what Merriam-Webster says about whether or not you should flush out or flesh out your plans:

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.”

When you’re fleshing out a plan, you’re putting meat on the bone! End of story.

3 comments on “Flesh vs. Flush: It Matters

  1. I’ve often heard this in meetings and read it in articles and I agree that ‘flesh out’ is the correct use. Although I have to admit, many of the plans I’ve seen presented by others could use a good ‘flushing out.’

    What about “jibe’ vs. ‘jive?’ That’s another one; as in, those plans you’ve fleshed out don’t jive with the stated goals? πŸ™‚ What do you say homey? πŸ™‚

    • dandunlop

      Yeah, the jibe vs. jive thing is a challenge as well. Good point. Here’s what I found: “Jibe has a nautical use (relating to turning the sail to go on an opposite tack), but it’s most often used to mean agree or to be in accord. Jive refers to either jazz music, dancing, or nonsense talk, although it can sound old-fashioned or ironic in its senses unrelated to dance.” http://grammarist.com/usage/gibe-jibe-jive/

  2. It looks like ‘Flesh out’ means – an idea to give it substance. ‘Flush out’ – a business term that can imply the user is cutting edge.

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