flesh out

When you flesh out an argument or an idea, you add more details to it, giving it more substance. Your English teacher might ask you to flesh out the rough draft of your essay.

While it's possible to flesh out a speech or a conversation, it's more common to find this phrase referring to written work. A poet's editor might tell her to flesh out a certain section of a poem, or you might flesh out the core of your argument in a story you hope to publish in a magazine. Flesh out is believed to come from the idea of adding flesh, physical substance, to a skeleton or a frame.

Primary Meanings of flesh out

1.
v
add details, as to an account or idea; clarify the meaning of and discourse in a learned way, usually in writing
2.
v
make fat or plump
Full Definitions of flesh out
1

v add details, as to an account or idea; clarify the meaning of and discourse in a learned way, usually in writing

Synonyms:
dilate, elaborate, enlarge, expand, expatiate, exposit, expound, lucubrate
Antonyms:
abbreviate, abridge, contract, cut, foreshorten, reduce, shorten
reduce in scope while retaining essential elements
cut, edit, edit out
cut and assemble the components of
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Types:
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detail
provide details for
exposit, expound, set forth
state
exemplify, illustrate, instance
clarify by giving an example of
particularise, particularize, specialise, specialize, specify
be specific about
depict, describe, draw
give a description of
premise
set forth beforehand, often as an explanation
spell out
make explicit; specify in detail
Type of:
clarify, clear up, elucidate
make clear and (more) comprehensible
2

v make fat or plump

Synonyms:
fat, fatten, fatten out, fatten up, fill out, plump, plump out
Type of:
alter, change, modify
cause to change; make different; cause a transformation

v become round, plump, or shapely

“The young woman is fleshing out
Synonyms:
fill out, round
Type of:
gain, put on
increase (one's body weight)

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