flash·back | \ˈflash-ˌbak \

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


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

The first episode of The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 featured a flashback in which Hannah became sick during the school day, and June was shamed by a nurse at the hospital for being a working mother. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 Episode 8 Will Make You Rage," 6 June 2018 Here was a flashback to the days before Durant, when Curry was everybody’s underdog, and each step-back was a spectacle. Lee Jenkins, SI.com, "Kevin Durant and the Dagger That Foreshadowed the Broom," 12 June 2018 The show underlined this again with last week’s flashback to Elizabeth abandoning a comrade in Moscow and being chastised for it by her trainer. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "The Americans seeks a new “START” in a tremendous series finale," 31 May 2018 Plus, find plenty of canned cider in spring's rosé releases below, and flashback to last summer's best frosés for weekend imbibing inspiration. Ashley Day, USA TODAY, "New wine cans for convenient summer fun," 25 May 2018 Koufax, Newcombe, Tommy Lasorda, Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hershiser … the introductions went on, a flashback to the days when being a Dodger meant playing in the World Series, and winning it. Bill Shaikin, latimes.com, "Dodgers lose third consecutive to Reds when Dave Roberts' pitching strategy backfires in sixth inning," 13 May 2018 And most everything feels like a flashback in the trial that began this week, including the who’s who of underworld players trudging into court in sensible shoes. New York Times, "At Boston Trial of ‘Cadillac Frank,’ a Who’s Who of Mobsters in Sensible Shoes," 11 May 2018 The answer to that still isn't clear, but Dolores' conversation with Logan during a flashback later on in the episode hints at something dark. refinery29.com, "Westworld Season 2, Episode 2 Recap: What The Hell Is "Glory"?," 30 Apr. 2018 This process grates on many people who have gone through it before, causing flashbacks to Uber under its controversial co-founder Travis Kalanick. Fortune, "The New Battle Between Cities and Ride Sharing Apps Is About Motorized Scooters," 18 Apr. 2018

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

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flashback

The first known use of flashback was in 1903

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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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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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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