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


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

Repeated exposure to violence can also lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which can have a host of symptoms like flashbacks, negative thoughts, hopelessness, trouble sleeping, and much more. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "Parkland Students Share Mental Health Resources to Support Each Other," 25 Mar. 2019 Earlier this season, Frank Randall made a surprising return to Outlander, if only in flashbacks and Brianna's memories. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Outlander Sneak Peek: A Much-Beloved Character Makes a Return to the Series," 10 Jan. 2019 Playing in the Mecca and then refereeing there 30-some years later is sort of cool … a flashback. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Q&A: Ref D.J. Carstensen talks old Milwaukee, tough calls and cool memories," 10 Mar. 2018 Chilly yet intimate, tranquil yet nerve-wracking, Trier’s aesthetically sleek (and flashback-peppered) film refuses to posit easy answers about Thelma’s true nature, instead taking an ambiguous perspective on its volatile subject. Nick Schager, Esquire, "The Best Movies of 2017," 18 Dec. 2017 James McAvoy McAvoy shared a bathroom mirror pic that gave us MySpace flashbacks, except his selfie was way cooler than our middle school snaps because a few celebrities autographed his white button-up shirt with a red sharpie. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Best Celebrity Instagrams from the 2019 Oscars," 24 Feb. 2019 Most of the action took place in the prison, with the exception of the show's traditional flashbacks. refinery29.com, "Orange Is The New Black," 9 July 2018 One episode reveals how their visions operate, each experiencing something tied to flashbacks from the premiere. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Cloak & Dagger': TV Review," 24 May 2018 The numerous defensive breakdowns led to horrifying flashbacks from the regular season. Chris Fedor, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Cavaliers keep their composure, play like a true team in must-win Game 4: Chris Fedor," 23 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

Statistics for flashback

Last Updated

17 Apr 2019

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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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 affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

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