Verbs that go fl-!
You asked for an “odd word” beginning with f- meaning a verb for someone running about with arms outstretched like some falcon wheeling in a kettle.
Now, if you had asked for a common word, this would have been easy. That’s because common verbs beginning with fl- and relating to flitting or flipping or flapping — or to flittering or fluttering, or flurrying or flinging, or flying or fleeing or flailing — positively abound in English. That’s just a short sample, too; I’m sure you can think of quite a few more to add to that list yourself.
Indeed, there are so many of these that there must surely exist professional linguistics papers that investigate what the common fl‑ element in all of these “means”. Perhaps if we are lucky, John Lawler will point us towards some.
But you didn’t want a common word. Since you have specifically asked for an “odd word”, it turns out that there are even more of these fl‑ verbs than most people realize, ones which are now variously uncommon, rare, literary, archaic, obsolete, dialectal — or just plain Scottish. :)
Many flawed fl‑ verbs which alas did not make the cut due to a mismatch of meaning but which are delightful verbs nonetheless include the flouncingly florulent flimp and flume, flivver and flimmer, flapadoodle and flapdragon.
But some ten flagrantly flashy fl- words did make the cut, and which therefore are flected and reflected in greater detail below, are the flamboyantly flairsome flacket, flaff, flanch, flaughter, flichter, flisk, flizz, floister, flurr, and flusker.
Without further hints from you, there is really no way to know “which” one if any of these following ten applies to your case. But I think some are fine candidates indeed.
All citations below are abbreviated excerpts from the OED, with various things left out, including alternate words spelled the same way, senses that would not apply to your case, and almost all examples of printed use.
flacket /ˈflækɪt/, v. dial. and U.S.
Etymology: freq. of flack v.: cf. ONor. flo̧kta of same meaning.
intr. To flap about.
flaff /flæf/, v. Sc.
Etymology: onomatopœic; cf. flap.
intr. To flap, make a flapping; to flutter. Of the lungs or heart: To pant or throb.
trans. To flap (the wings).
Hence ˈflaffing vbl. sb. and ppl. a.
flanch /flɑːnʃ/, /-æ-/, v.
Etymology: Of obscure origin; there would seem to be some connexion with the synonymous flan v.; but the relation between the two words is not explained by any known process of derivation. Assuming the primary sense to be ‘to extend laterally’, flanch might conceivably be derived from Fr. flanc flank; but no vb. *flancher of similar sense has been discovered in Fr. of any period.
An OFr. flanchir, flangir, flainchir occurs as a synonym (perh. a variant) of flechir to bend (cf. flinch). Can the Eng. vb. be an adoption of this in a specialized sense?
intr. To spread, widen out; to slope outwards towards the top. Also with out, off. to flanch up: to slope inwards towards the top; applied especially to the outsides of chimney-shafts.
flaughter /ˈflaxtər/, v.2 Sc. and north. dial.
Etymology: app. f. flaught sb.2; cf. flichter, floghter vbs.
intr. To make a fluttering motion; also of a light, to flicker.
a. intr. To be in a flutter; to be angry or afraid. b. trans. To put into a flutter; to frighten, flurry.
Hence ˈflaughter sb., a fluttering motion, flutter.
flichter, flighter /ˈflɪxtə(r)/, v.1 Sc.
Etymology: ? f. flicht, flight v.; see -er5. Cf. flaughter v.2
- intr. Of a bird: To beat its wings, fly irregularly or feebly, flutter. Of inanimate objects: To flutter, move quivering through the air.
flisk /flɪsk/, v. Now dial.
Etymology: onomatopœia expressive of a sudden movement through the air; cf. whisk.
- intr. To move or dance about in a frolicsome way; to frisk. Of a horse: To be restive.
flizz /flɪz/, v. dial.
Etymology: onomatopœic; cf. whiz.
(See quot.) Hence ˈflizzing vbl. sb.
- 1674 Ray N.C. Words 18 ― Flizze, to Fly off.
- 1847 Halliwell, ― Floistering, skittish, boyish.
flurr /flɜː(r)/, v.
Etymology: ? onomatopœic.
- trans. To scatter, throw about; also with up.
- intr. To fly up; to fly with whirring or fluttering wings.
flusker /ˈflʌskə(r)/, v. Obs. exc. dial.
Etymology: freq. of flusk ‘to fly at, as two cocks’ (‘Tim Bobbin’ Lanc. Dial.), ‘to startle a bird out of a bush’ (Almondbury Gloss., E.D.S.). Cf. flush v.1, flasker v.
- a. intr. To flutter or fly irregularly.
- trans. To fluster, confuse. Only in pass.
Hence ˈfluskering vbl. sb. and ppl. a.
I am off down the road
Where the fairy lanterns glowed
And the little pretty flitter-mice are flying. . . .
―“Goblin Feet” by JRR Tolkien