He fleshed his sword. Used it for the first time. Men
fleshed in cruelty —i.e. initiated or used to it. A
sportsman's expression. When a sportsman wishes to encourage a young
dog or hawk, he will allow it to have the first game it catches for its
own eating. This “flesh” is the first it has tasted, and fleshing its
tooth thus gives the creature a craving for similar food. Hence, also,
to eat with avidity.
The wild dog
Shall flesh his tooth on every innocent.
2 Henry IV., iv. 5.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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