\ 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

Surgeons replaced the flap of skin with a titanium plate dozens of surgeries later. Emily Deciccio, Fox News, "Service dog training program offers hope, rehab to inmates and soldiers," 19 July 2018 Loewe, $450, loewe.com With a chain strap and black leather flap, this small number transitions easily from day to night. WSJ, "Five Woven Straw Bags to Have You Summer-Ready," 2 Apr. 2019 Zippered outer pockets and internal windproof flap behind zipper means no unwanted cold air. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Rain Jackets for Keeping Dry," 8 Mar. 2019 At the rear, a combination of Gurney flaps and louvers direct air away from the deck, creating a low-pressure area that draws hot air out of the engine bay. Erik Johnson, Car and Driver, "McLaren Senna GTR: A $1.4 Million, 814-Plus-HP Track-Bound Ballistic Missile," 6 Mar. 2018 The berry flap comes as Japan is increasingly sensitive about competition from South Korea, which has eroded or wiped out Japan’s advantage in major industries such as electronics and autos. Miho Inada, WSJ, "Strawberry Jam: Athletes Get Stuck in International Food Fight," 15 Mar. 2018 For one, the Pen recharges via a USB-C port hidden underneath a flap of gray silicone near its top. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "HP Elitebook x360 1030 review: Small tweaks made to a stylish work 2-in-1," 16 Nov. 2018 By around 5 miles from the runway, the landing gear is extended, and the flaps are in the landing position. John Cox, USA TODAY, "Ask the Captain: It takes skill to make a smooth landing," 20 May 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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

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

9 May 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

Comments on flap

What made you want to look up flap? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something valued as if it were money

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