flash·​back | \ ˈflash-ˌbak How to pronounce flashback (audio) \

Definition of flashback

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a recession of flame to an unwanted position (as into a blowpipe)
2a : interruption of chronological sequence (as in a film or literary work) by interjection of events of earlier occurrence also : an instance of flashback
b : a past incident recurring vividly in the mind

flash back

flashed back; flashing back; flashes back

Definition of flash back (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to focus one's mind on or vividly remember a past time or incident usually used with to flashed back to my childhood
2 : to employ a flashback (as in a film) usually used with to

Examples of flashback in a Sentence


The character's childhood was described in a series of flashbacks. He's having flashbacks of his days in the war.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There are flashbacks to Germany and Young Erich’s new life and love in Chicago, along with the letters that connect those two worlds. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "‘Taking Up Serpents’ and ‘Dear Erich’ Reviews: Operas Haunted by the Past," 15 Jan. 2019 Internet users are getting flashbacks of Laurel vs. Yanny and #TheDress debate as another viral meme makes the rounds online. Jennifer Earl, Fox News, "Beach or door? Viral meme stumps the internet," 31 Aug. 2018 The series opens with two young girls roller skating home from school, looking blissfully happy - turns out it's a flashback to the childhood versions of Camille and Marian. Emily Yahr, chicagotribune.com, "'Sharp Objects' premiere features one major difference from Gillian Flynn's novel," 9 July 2018 She’d kidnapped and replaced Domino at some point before her debut in New Mutants #98, but after her real first appearance in X-Force #8, which was a flashback set years in the past. Chris Sims, The Verge, "Domino deserves a spinoff film, and there are amazing comic stories to mine," 24 May 2018 The scenes of Tokyo in Shun’s flashbacks beautifully demonstrate the show’s impressive visual effects by evoking Blade Runner’s tech-noir sensibilities. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "YouTube’s tech-noir series Origin is Lost… in space," 14 Nov. 2018 The Crown star Matt Smith plays Manson in flashbacks in the project, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in early September 2018. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "A Guide to All the Charles Manson and Sharon Tate Movies Coming Out This Year," 26 Sep. 2018 They were very briefly seen on screen in a Force Awakens flashback (when Rey first touched Luke’s lightsaber). John Gilpatrick, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know About the Future of Star Wars," 10 May 2019 The oldest of his three children, Michael, also had a guest spot on Riverdale earlier this year, playing a younger version of his character in a now-famous flashback episode/Breakfast Club parody. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "'Riverdale' Star Mark Consuelos Dishes on What It Was Really Like Working With Kelly Ripa," 18 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flashback.' 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 flashback


1903, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1944, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near flashback



flash back



flash boiler

flash bomb

Statistics for flashback

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flashback

The first known use of flashback was in 1903

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More Definitions for flashback



English Language Learners Definition of flashback

: a part of a story or movie that describes or shows something that happened in the past
: a strong memory of a past event that comes suddenly into a person's mind

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More from Merriam-Webster on flashback

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flashback

Spanish Central: Translation of flashback

Nglish: Translation of flashback for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flashback for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about flashback

Comments on flashback

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


to take the place or position of

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