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Flesh vs. Meat: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 20, 2024
Flesh typically refers to the soft substance consisting of muscle and fat that is found between the skin and bones of an animal or human, while meat is the edible part of animals, specifically muscle and fat that is eaten as food.

Key Differences

Flesh is the soft part of a living being, primarily composed of muscle and fat. Meat, however, specifically refers to the edible parts of an animal, often muscle and associated fat, which is consumed as food.
Flesh can denote the living tissue in humans or animals, encompassing more than just edible parts. Meat is a term used predominantly for the flesh of animals after being butchered for consumption.
The term flesh can also have metaphorical or symbolic meanings, like 'flesh and blood' referring to human lineage. Meat, in contrast, is almost exclusively used in the context of food and culinary practices.
Flesh may imply a broader biological context, including layers beneath the skin. Meat is a culinary term, generally not used to describe parts of a living animal or human.
In some contexts, 'flesh' can connote sensuality or corporeality in humans. 'Meat,' however, maintains its focus on the culinary and dietary aspects of animal flesh.

Comparison Chart


Soft substance between skin and bones in animals or humans.
Edible parts of animals, specifically for consumption.

Usage Context

Broader, including living tissue and metaphorical meanings.
Predominantly culinary, referring to food.

Relation to Living Beings

Can refer to both living and dead organisms.
Usually refers to flesh post-butchered or prepared for eating.

Symbolic Meanings

Can have varied symbolic or metaphorical uses.
Lacks symbolic meanings, focused on dietary context.

Scope of Meaning

Wider, covering biological and metaphorical aspects.
Narrower, confined to the scope of food and consumption.

Flesh and Meat Definitions


Pulp of fruit.
The flesh of the mango was juicy and sweet.


Main part of something.
We finally got to the meat of the discussion.


Human nature or carnality.
He struggled with the desires of the flesh.


Core or heart of a matter.
The meat of the issue was not addressed.


Family or lineage.
They were his own flesh and blood.


Edible parts of an animal.
The meat was cooked to perfection.


Soft part of a living beinG.
The arrow pierced his flesh.


Solid food, as opposed to liquid.
After fasting, he craved meat.


Human body or skin.
Her flesh was cold to the touch.


Substantial or essential part.
The meat of her argument was compelling.


The soft tissue of the body of a vertebrate, covering the bones and consisting mainly of skeletal muscle and fat
Thought the boy needed some more flesh on his bones.


The edible flesh of animals, especially that of mammals as opposed to that of fish or poultry.


The edible part, as of a piece of fruit or a nut.


Does meat always refer to food?

Primarily, but it can metaphorically mean the essence of something.

Is flesh only human tissue?

No, flesh can refer to the soft tissue of any animal.

Is flesh used in cooking terms?

Rarely, it's more biological or metaphorical.

Can flesh have non-literal meanings?

Yes, like in expressions about human nature or family.

Is meat used to describe human tissue?

Not usually; it's more for animal flesh as food.

Is flesh considered a culinary term?

No, it's more biological or metaphorical.

Can meat come from plants?

No, meat specifically refers to animal flesh.

Does the term flesh imply something alive?

It can, but it also refers to the body's substance, alive or dead.

Can flesh mean fruit pulp?

Yes, like in 'mango flesh'.

Is meat a term in botany?

No, it's not used in plant context.

Does meat include bones?

No, meat refers to the muscle and fat, not bones.

Can meat be used in a symbolic sense?

Rarely, it's mostly used in a literal, culinary context.

Is the term flesh used in art?

Yes, often in figurative painting and sculpture.

Does flesh always imply edibility?

No, it's not always associated with food.

Is meat used to describe fish?

Yes, fish meat is a common term.

Can meat be artificial?

Yes, like plant-based meat alternatives.

Is meat used in idiomatic expressions?

Yes, like 'the meat of the matter'.

Does flesh have religious connotations?

Yes, in many religious texts and contexts.

Can flesh be a synonym for meat?

In some contexts, but they have distinct uses.

Do vegetarians eat meat?

No, vegetarians avoid eating animal meat.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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