One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1‘he fell headlong, his arms flailing’
wave, swing, thrash about, flap about, beat about, windmill, move erratically
2‘I was flailing about in the water’
flounder, struggle, thrash, thresh, squirm, wriggle, writhe, twist, splash, stumble, blunder, fumble, wiggle, twitch
3‘he flailed their shoulders with his cane’
thrash, beat, strike, batter, drub, flog, whip, lash, scourge, flay, flagellate, strap, switch, tan, cane, tan someone's hide, whip someone's hide, give someone a hiding, beat the living daylights out of, clout, welt, belabour
informal wallop, whack, lam, give someone a hiding, give someone a good hiding, larrup
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