1. the finely ground meal of grain, especially the finer meal separated by bolting.
  2. the finely ground and bolted meal of wheat, as that used in baking.
  3. a finely ground, powdery foodstuff, as of dehydrated potatoes, fish, or bananas.
  4. a fine, soft powder: flour of emery.

verb (used with object)

  1. to make (grain or the like) into flour; grind and bolt.
  2. to sprinkle or dredge with flour: Flour the chicken before frying.

verb (used without object)

  1. (of mercury) to refuse to amalgamate with another metal because of some impurity of the metal; lie on the surface of the metal in the form of minute globules.
  2. to disintegrate into minute particles.


  1. a powder, which may be either fine or coarse, prepared by sifting and grinding the meal of a grass, esp wheat
  2. any finely powdered substance


  1. (tr) to make (grain) into flour
  2. (tr) to dredge or sprinkle (food or cooking utensils) with flour
  3. (of mercury) to break into fine particles on the surface of a metal rather than amalgamating, or to produce such an effect on (a metal). The effect is caused by impurities, esp sulphur

“to sprinkle with flour,” 1650s, from flour (n.). Related: Floured; flouring.


early 13c., flur “flower” (see flower (n.)); meaning “finer portion of ground grain” is mid-13c., from the notion of flour as the “finest part” of meal (cf. French fleur de farine), as distinguished from the coarser parts (meal). Spelled flower until flour became the accepted form c.1830 to end confusion.

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