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Flush out vs. Flesh out

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  Marius Alza  —  Grammar Tips
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Flush out” and “flesh out” are two expressions commonly confused and used wrongly. Misspelling them is something quite natural, given the fact that they look so similar and only have one letter distinct. But it’s important to know the difference, cause it’s about elegance and fluency, talking and spelling your messages correctly.

Check below what “flush out” and “flesh out” refer to and how to correctly use these expressions.

Flush out vs. Flesh out

Both expressions are formed by adding “out” to the verbs “flush” and “flesh”. And both verbs have different meanings, which will obviously cause the expressions to refer to distinct things as well.

“Flush” is usually used when referring to “flushing a toilet”, which means emptying its content. “Flesh”, on the other hand, is used to refer to the essential content of something, to “meat”, or “the middle of something”. “Flush out” and “flesh out” have meanings that start from the original word, but from another perspective. Check below how you can use them correctly.

When do we use “flush out”?

So “flushing” something means to empty its content, in general. “Flush out” makes no big difference: the expression is used when referring to something or somebody, who is forced to come out from the place they are hiding.

Example: I wish I could just flush out that mouse from my house, but I have no idea how. – “flush out” refers to forcing an animal to come out from where it’s hiding.

When do we use “flesh out”?

As already mentioned, “flesh out” also has a quite similar meaning with the word from which it originates, “flesh”. “Flesh” refers to meat or to the middle, essential part of a fruit, object or matter. “Flesh out”, therefore, refers to bringing more consistency to something, adding up more essential information to an essay or completing something with more substance to get it fuller or almost complete.

Example: Please flesh out your essay, because it is quite short at this moment and doesn’t offer any useful information to the reader. – “flesh out” refers to adding up more substance, more important information to something.


Even though they look and sound very similar, even though they are commonly misspelled or confused in English, “flush out” and “flesh out” start from different concepts and, consequently, define different actions. The first expression refers to forcefully making an animal or a person get out from where they were hiding, while the second is used with the meaning of completing, fulfilling or adding up more important elements to something.

Flush out vs. Flesh out

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