\ ˈflap How to pronounce flap (audio) \

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

Examples of flap in a Sentence

Noun She opened the tent flap and crawled outside. the inside flap of a book's cover a loose flap of skin Verb The breeze flapped the sails. The flag flapped in the breeze. The bird's wings were flapping. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But Saltzman, who is legally blind, still missed the lines on the envelope flap that required her to fill in identification numbers needed for election officials to count her vote. Deborah Barfield Berry, USA TODAY, 25 Apr. 2022 With two outs in the ninth, Pete Alonso barely avoided serious injury when a fastball by Mason Thompson — who has walked 16 batters in 25 2/3 career innings — glanced off Alonso’s shoulder and bounced off the C-flap on his batting helmet. Jerry Beach, Forbes, 9 Apr. 2022 The flap in January about how many people of color are featured on the Chemtrails Over the Country Club album art could happen only to a star whose use of classic American iconography has made people itch in the past. Craig Jenkins, Vulture, 19 Mar. 2021 The 16, Slimane's first bag design for Celine, has a classic structured frame and top flap creating an overall 1960s vibe. Kerry Pieri, Harper's BAZAAR, 6 Apr. 2022 But as April 3 approached, and on the heels of the Oscars’ Will Smith-Chris Rock flap and rumors that West could stage a competing livestream at the same time as the Grammys, the Recording Academy restarted talks to have West take the stage. Shirley Halperin, Variety, 3 Apr. 2022 Because envelopes are opened from the back, where the flap is, the contents should face that way. Washington Post, 11 Apr. 2022 The latest flap comes days after Gosar sought to distance himself from Nick Fuentes, the white nationalist whose group Gosar addressed in person in 2021 and greeted by video message in February. Ronald J. Hansen, The Arizona Republic, 7 Apr. 2022 The flap is similar to a uvula in humans, which is pushed back when swallowing to prevent food or fluids from ending up in the space behind the nose. Corryn Wetzel, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The water-repellent material, padded foam compartment and storm flap keep your devices dry and protected, and the carryall can fit laptops up to 15 inches. Thomas Hindle, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Apr. 2022 Fold the baseline flap over the filling, roll one turn, fold in the left and right sides to seal the edges of the roll. Washington Post, 21 Jan. 2022 Don’t be surprised if the University of Florida flap over faculty testifying as experts in litigation leads to bills that would restrict faculty from engaging in outside consulting or put new rules in place for their teaching workloads. Michael T. Nietzel, Forbes, 3 Jan. 2022 The absence of Lundby and Kramer cleared the way for the field of women that jumped on a cold night with a wind chill of minus-13 Celsius (8.6 degrees Fahrenheit) as gusts made flags from participating nations flap. Larry Lage, ajc, 5 Feb. 2022 Flags flap in the breeze at San Luis beach in San Andres, Colombia. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 13 Jan. 2022 Tails and flippers flap and fly in occasional rapid frenzies of splashes, likely a spat over the lettuce or maybe just the inevitable marine mammal agitations of a flipper-to-flipper crowd in such a tight space. Jim Waymer, USA TODAY, 8 Feb. 2022 The flames flap with a noise like laundry on a line. Krista Stevens, Longreads, 19 Jan. 2022 The new research suggests that the creature crouched and then launched itself eight feet in the air, giving it enough space from the ground to flap its wings and lift off, George Dvorsky reports for Gizmodo. Rasha Aridi, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for flap

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Flap.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flap. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for flap


\ ˈflap How to pronounce flap (audio) \

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 How to pronounce flap (audio) \

Medical Definition of flap

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

More from Merriam-Webster on flap

Nglish: Translation of flap for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flap for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about flap


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