\ ˈflap \

Definition of flap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a stroke with something broad : slap
2 obsolete : something broad and flat used for striking
3 : something that is broad, limber, or flat and usually thin and that hangs loose or projects freely: such as
a : a piece on a garment that hangs free
b : a part of a book jacket that folds under the book's cover
c : a piece of tissue partly severed from its place of origin for use in surgical grafting
d : an extended part forming the closure (as of an envelope or carton)
4 : the motion of something broad and limber (such as a sail or wing)
5 : a movable auxiliary airfoil usually attached to an airplane wing's trailing edge to increase lift or drag — see airplane illustration
6a : a state of excitement or agitation : tizzy, uproar
b : something that generates an uproar
7 : a consonant (such as the sound \d\ in ladder and \t\ in latter) characterized by a single rapid contact of the tongue or lower lip against another point in the mouth

called also tap


flapped; flapping

Definition of flap (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to beat with or as if with a flap
2 : to toss sharply : fling
3 : to move or cause to move in flaps

intransitive verb

1 : to sway loosely usually with a noise of striking and especially when moved by wind
2a : to beat or pulsate wings or something suggesting wings
b : to progress by flapping
c : to flutter ineffectively
3 : to talk foolishly and persistently

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Examples of flap in a Sentence


She opened the tent flap and crawled outside. the inside flap of a book's cover a loose flap of skin


The breeze flapped the sails. The flag flapped in the breeze. The bird's wings were flapping.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One example shows how Brixels can be used to display flight information—like a super high-tech Solari split-flap board. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Say hello to ‘Brixel’, 2018’s answer to the brick," 16 Oct. 2018 For Metro’s newest trains, designers opted for a new type of barrier, stiff rubber flaps that cover the space. Martine Powers, Washington Post, "Metro asks FTA to reconsider year-end deadline for installing safety barriers to 7000-series trains," 29 June 2018 According to Instagram account @stylebeyonce, the singer accessorized her iconic look with a Chanel pearl flap bag and some transparent Public Desire Shook mules. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Beyoncé Just Wore Silver Snakeskin Hot Pants, So I'm Buying Silver Snakeskin Hot Pants," 23 Dec. 2018 Under the vehicle there are splitters ahead of the front wheels, a dimpled underbody cover beneath the battery, front and rear underbody spoilers, and rear-axle Gurney flaps. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "We’ve driven Audi’s first proper electric car, the 2019 e-tron SUV," 7 Dec. 2018 Always remember to close tent flaps when entering and leaving your tent and wear boots when exiting the tent in the dark. Henry Robertson, Popular Mechanics, "How to Avoid and Treat Rattlesnake Bites," 9 Nov. 2018 The flaps rotate to vertical for take off and landing and to horizontal for level flight. Dan Neil, WSJ, "The First Flying-Car Review," 12 Sep. 2018 The flap brought renewed attention to Sparks' performance, which shattered a glass ceiling long keeping women from the prominent role of commentator. Isaac Stanley-becker, chicagotribune.com, "'I prefer to hear a male voice': Women commentators find harsh judgment at World Cup," 26 June 2018 The first is the bulkiness—or lack thereof—and the second is that thing that happens when the sticky flaps of a pad attach themselves to the insides of your legs, which can be painful. Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, "I Tried Free Bleeding in Period-Proof Running Shorts," 30 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Still, the media will have to work hard to flap away the odor of selective prosecution. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Interpreting the Trump Meteor," 18 Dec. 2018 These birds are on a manhunt amongst the chickadees flapping about the hotel lobby, pecking along the floor, and dashing between the trees planted by the water fountains. Danielle C. Belton, The Root, "Our Hotel is for the Birds (Literally), Cuh-CAAAAW!," 23 June 2018 This year’s version, on June 12th, was festive, with banners flapping under a blue sky and diners enjoying free food. The Economist, "Donald Trump stomps on Canada’s economy," 14 June 2018 RoboFly could flap its wings and fly on its own, but the device couldn’t fly far, said Shyam Gollakota, an associate professor in the UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. Katherine Long, The Seattle Times, "Backpack-wearing bumblebees could buzz fields, tell farmers how crops are doing," 13 Dec. 2018 That’s why my necklace was on my head, my glasses were upside down on my nose, and my unzipped boots flapped around my ankles like bats. Ronnie Polaneczky, Philly.com, "The First Amendment lets you speak freely. Empathy lets you listen | Ronnie Polaneczky," 23 Mar. 2018 The male duck flapped its wing and the arrow came out, but the female got away with the arrow still there, Dalton said. Dana Burke, Houston Chronicle, "Ducks shot with arrows repeatedly in Pearland neighborhood," 8 Jan. 2018 Men in flapping long coats clutched unironic fedoras against a biting wind. Daniel Lee, WSJ, "Could the Internet Power a Small-Town Renaissance?," 21 Nov. 2018 Yellow police tape flapped in the wind, keeping people and journalists away from the area. New York Times, "5 People Dead in Shooting at Maryland’s Capital Gazette Newsroom," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flap.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of flap


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for flap


Middle English flappe

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Statistics for flap

Last Updated

14 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flap

The first known use of flap was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for flap



English Language Learners Definition of flap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a flat piece of material that is attached to something on one side and that can be easily moved
: the movement or sound of something that is moving up and down or back and forth
: a state or situation in which many people are excited or upset



English Language Learners Definition of flap (Entry 2 of 2)

: to move (something) up and down or back and forth


\ ˈflap \

Kids Definition of flap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something broad and flat or flexible that hangs loose Tape the box flaps closed.
2 : the motion or sound made by something broad and flexible (as a sail or wing) moving back and forth
3 : an upset or worried state of mind Don't get in a flap over nothing.


flapped; flapping

Kids Definition of flap (Entry 2 of 2)

: to move with a beating or fluttering motion Birds flapped their wings.


\ ˈflap \

Medical Definition of flap

: a piece of tissue partly severed from its place of origin for use in surgical grafting

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More from Merriam-Webster on flap

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flap

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flap

Spanish Central: Translation of flap

Nglish: Translation of flap for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flap for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about flap

Comments on flap

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esteemed in general opinion

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