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.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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