\ 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

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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

It wasn’t helped by a flap with Sergio Garcia at the Match Play event in March. Josh Dubow, BostonGlobe.com, "After contentious start to year, Matt Kuchar in contention at US Open," 14 June 2019 David Merriman, a rare earths analyst for Roskill commodity research in London, said that during a similar trade flap with China in 2011, Japan began looking to other countries including Australia for the minerals needed to manufacture electronics. Washington Post, "US-China trade war sparks worries about rare earth minerals," 8 June 2019 Hazard Owen hopes the flap doesn’t deter newsroom leaders from having an open and honest conversation about the challenges of diversity. Laura Mcgann, Vox, "Even worse than Jeffrey Goldberg’s sexist quote was his gaslighting of a journalist," 6 June 2019 See the first plane ever to fly without wing flaps. David Rovella, Bloomberg.com, "Your Evening Briefing," 2 May 2019 In addition to a substantial diffuser the car will feature drag-reducing DRS-style flaps and a moveable rear wing. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, "The Lotus Type 130 Is a Lean, Mean Electric Hypercar Debuting on July 16," 31 May 2019 The boxy quilted BBag is a riff on the traditional quilted flap bag with a gold chain added for a touch of decadent luxury; Romeo’s spikes and studs deliver punk attitude, while the Twist plays up the canteen bag’s regimental origins. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Cara Delevingne and Olivier Rousteing on Handbags, Friendship, and Their New Balmain Collab," 28 May 2019 When a plane opens its flap and disgorges a giant metal container of packages (called a can) onto a scissor lift, a team of five drags it onto a four-car cart called a tug, which chugs forward one platform for the next can. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "Inside FedEx’s Christmas Miracle," 19 Dec. 2018 Whether that means the omission of a specific trim on a classic tweed suiting set, or choosing to no longer offer 2.55 front-flap handbags in snakeskin, this will be a big change going forward. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Chanel Will No Longer Use Exotic Skins Like Snake in Their Designs," 4 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Flags emblazoned with the World Cup logo flapped along the sides of the city’s renowned Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims on the blustery 65-degree day. Alicia Delgallo, Pro Soccer USA, "USWNT greeted warmly in Reims, France ahead of first World Cup match," 9 June 2019 Alan Titus, a Bureau of Land Management paleontologist here for nearly 20 years, is behind the wheel, his shaggy hair flapping in the July wind as Led Zeppelin blasts from the speakers. Eric Betz, Discover Magazine, "Tyrannosaurus Rex: Scary. Smart. Social?," 12 Apr. 2019 Birds do it by moving the whole wing , and so does a cyclocopter, but the movement is in a circular pattern, which is mechanically simpler than flapping up and down. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "After More Than a Century, the Cyclocopter Is Making a Comeback," 5 Apr. 2019 As his captain and countryman fell into a trance on the ice at Pittsburgh’s PPG Paints Arena, Kuznetsov started flapping like a bird. Alex Prewitt, SI.com, "Confident and at Ease, These Capitals Aren't Worried About Past Playoff Disappointments," 15 May 2018 Measuring just eight centimeters across, weighing just two grams, and drawing power from a tiny motor, Ristroph's creation can keep itself upright in the air just by flapping. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "For Simpler Flying Robots, Make Them Fly Like Jellyfish?," 25 Nov. 2013 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

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

20 Jun 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 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

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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

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