flail about

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flail about

To move one's body, often the limbs, in an erratic or clumsy way. The last time I tried ice skating, I spent most of the time flailing about and trying desperately not to fall.
See also: flail
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

flail about

or flail around
v.
To engage in rapid, frantic, undirected movements or activity: The baby cried and flailed about as we looked for the bottle. After I caught the fish, it flailed around in the bottom of the boat.
See also: flail
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
This period bears witness not to an artist who lost his footing only to flail about in bad taste, but to one pursuing with bold consistency the same attitude he asserted from the very start.
In some cases, rheumatic fever leads to Sydenham's chorea, a severe movement disorder in which the arms and legs flail about rapidly and uncontrollably