'Fladry' is a comparatively recent adoption in English from Polish, with a putative origin in German. The Double-Tongued Dictionary gives this definition and partial etymology:

fladry n.pl. a string of flags used to contain or exclude wild animals. ... Etymological Note: According to Polish Scientific Publishers (Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, SA), fladry is the plural of flader, which comes from German. It is not specified which German word, but it’s probably related to flattern ‘to flutter.’ It is probably not related to the Polish flÄ…dry, the plural of flÄ…dra, which according to the Oxford PWN Polish English Dictionary (2002, Oxford University Press) means “1. flounder, flatfish; 2. slattern, slut.”

I have found 'fladry' in English in the sense of "a string of flags etc." as early as 1993, in a technical paper titled "Status and Management of the Wolf in Poland" (Biological Conservation; see, for example, the abstract).

Alongside the current efforts to manage wolf packs after their reintroduction to areas of the US where they may prey on domestic animals, 'fladry' has been adopted into the commonplace English lexicon, although it does not yet appear in OED or other well-established print and online dictionaries.

The question is

  • What is the German etymon of Polish fladry, from which last the English word derives?

I am hoping for an authoritative answer based on at least one quotable source.

My guess is that the German etymon is, in fact, flader, a German word meaning "streak, vein". In the form 'flaser', which derives from a dialect version of German flader, the word finds current technical use in English to denote a structural characteristic of sedimentary rock:

flaser structure in sedimentary

(Image from Geologic Digressions, copyright Brian Ricketts, at https://www.geological-digressions.com/tag/flaser-bedding/.)

Although the rock structure and a line of flags in fencing do not, at first blush, seem to resemble each other much, part of a diagram in a 1968 paper, "Classification and Origin of Flaser and Lenticular Bedding" (Sedimentology, Volume 11 (1‐2) – Oct 1, 1968), which attempts to more precisely define and subdivide sedimentary bedding types, appears to make a more graphic connection:

flaser bedding types

  • As it is, we either do not know for sure or just do not know the etymology of many established English words. Speculation is pretty common. When it comes to foreign words used in technical writing, it may not amount to "import" per se. Finally, we are looking for the etymology of a Polish word, not an English word here. I do share the OP's enthusiasm, though. – Kris Jan 11 at 8:58
  • reg. Okarma: Note that the word appears in scare quotes in the document cited, which indicates that it is a Polish word that has been left untranslated. So it doesn't count as an English word as far as the document is concerned. OTOH, Google translates the Polish fladry as "flounder:" to (get bogged down) and struggle (to get out of) mud or water (ODOL). The hunting method rightly fits that description for the wolf's predicament. – Kris Jan 11 at 9:09
  • Since flounder has already been mentioned by Oxford (cited), I am posting only comments. Nor Al Cambronne say anything new or concrete in "what the heck's fladry?" alcambronne.com/2011/05/18/what-the-heck%E2%80%99s-fladry. – Kris Jan 11 at 9:22
  • 1
    You might get better traction at German.stackexchange.com because this would be helped immensely by native knowledge of German which is more likely there. – Mitch Jan 11 at 13:05

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