\ 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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The remarks about Bonnen were Abbott's first public comments since the flap erupted in late July. Robert T. Garrett, Dallas News, "Gov. Greg Abbott dismisses calls for Speaker Dennis Bonnen to quit as ‘premature,’ welcomes inquiry," 16 Aug. 2019 But as last week’s headline mini-flap demonstrated, liberals seem impatient with the Times, too, sometimes flaying it for not pushing back on Trump more aggressively in its news coverage. Paul Farhi, Washington Post, "New York Times demotes editor after Twitter controversy as paper takes fire from left, right and within," 13 Aug. 2019 Kick-outs; kick-backs; kneeling-out; beaver-flap diver’s tops; Misirlou; and what’s a leash — that was our language. Los Angeles Times, "Letters: Working late is working great for Dodgers," 9 Aug. 2019 The pilot accidentally punched 10 Left — a much longer SFO runway — into the cockpit computer, causing the plane to incorrectly calculate the appropriate thrust and wing flap settings. Matthias Gafni, SFChronicle.com, "SFO: The typo that almost crashed a plane," 13 Sep. 2019 When placed on a plate heated to about 200 degrees Celsius, the flat sheet measuring about 4 by 8 centimeters would curl itself into a pentagon, pop out its flaps and slowly roll across the platform — no battery pack required. Los Angeles Times, "This 3D-printed robot assembles itself and then rolls away," 22 Aug. 2019 There are two flaps that hold a combined 20 game card slots, which should be more than enough for most. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "Guidemaster: The best Nintendo Switch accessories you can buy in 2019," 21 Aug. 2019 Could this flap involving Trump, Israel, Netanyahu, Tlaib and Omar actually help the incumbent in those battleground states because of backlash against the squad? Fox News, "Reporter's Notebook: Spat over scrapped 'Squad' members' Israel visit is tricky politics for both sides," 17 Aug. 2019 But one storyline likely to surface from Hawaii was a recruiting flap during the spring of 2018, when Oregon State sent a recruiting mailer to a current Rainbow Warriors player. oregonlive, "Will former Oregon State linebacker Isaiah Tufaga’s transfer to Hawaii aid the Rainbow Warriors game-planning for Beavers?," 2 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The trailer shows Ring-Con movements being used for everything from paddleboarding to flapping a a wing suit. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Nintendo’s weird exercise ring is used to control a Switch RPG," 12 Sep. 2019 The former Bayer Leverkusen man put in a shaky performance in the recent north London derby, with the German flapping at Erik Lamela's tame shot, allowing Christian Eriksen to tap home and give Tottenham the lead. SI.com, "Bernd Leno Admits He Struggles With Incredible Level of Germany Goalkeeper Rivals," 7 Sep. 2019 Set your colander inside the bowl and line it with several layers of cheesecloth, leaving the ends flapping o’er the side. 2. James P. Dewan, chicagotribune.com, "How to make labneh, the luscious Middle Eastern yogurty spread," 21 Aug. 2019 Kaia Monroe, all flapping arms and wild hair as Adriana, the anxious spouse of Antipholus of Ephesus, does the best job of fitting her character to the Dr. Seuss style. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "Review: Elm Shakespeare’s ‘Comedy of Errors’ a joyous, joke-based stroll in the park," 19 Aug. 2019 This has made Hemingway extra protective of his friend, honking and flapping his wings when shelter staff come to take care of the pair. Cole Higgins, CNN, "Odd couple: Miniature horse and farm goose need a forever home — together," 30 Aug. 2019 Elizabeth Boehm photographed male greater sage grouse duking it out during a courtship display, one with his wings flapping, the other with his tail feathers fanned out into a starburst; the image earned Boehm the professional category prize. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Audubon Photography Award Winners Show the Breathtaking Beauty of Wild Birds," 16 July 2019 Soon the banner was proudly flapping around the world—from the Castro to Key West, from Christopher Street to the canals of Amsterdam, from the pleasure boats of the Seine to the barges on the Thames. Vogue, "The Best Rainbow Jewelry to Buy Now, Wear Proudly Forever," 6 June 2019 In chaotic systems, small perturbations can have large and seemingly unpredictable effects, as in the archetypical example of a butterfly’s flapping wings influencing the weather thousands of miles away. Quanta Magazine, "A Twisted Path to Equation-Free Prediction," 13 Oct. 2015

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

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for flap

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

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More Definitions for flap


How to pronounce flap (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flap

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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