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(1)   A small fragment of something broken off from the whole
"A bit of rock caught him in the eye"
(2)   A person with an unusual or odd personality
(3)   A crystal of snow


(4)   Come off in flakes or thin small pieces
"The paint in my house is peeling off"
(5)   Cover with flakes or as if with flakes
(6)   Form into flakes
"The substances started to flake"


  1. A loose filmy mass or a thin chiplike layer of anything; a film; flock; lamina; layer; scale; as, a flake of snow, paint, or fish.
  2. A prehistoric tool chipped out of stone.
  3. A person who is impractical, flighty, unreliable, or inconsistent; especially with maintaining a living.
    She makes pleasant conversation, but she's kind of a flake when it comes time for action.


  1. To break or chip off in a flake.
    The paint flaked off after only a year.
  2. To prove unreliable or impractical; to abandon or desert, to fail to follow through.
    He said he'd come and help, but he flaked.
  3. To store an item such as rope in layers
    The line is flaked into the container for easy attachment and deployment.
  4. to hit (another person).

Etymology 2

A name given to dogfish to improve its marketability as a food, perhaps from etymology 1.