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

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 The Girl in the Spider’s Web provides all the necessary backstory in flashbacks, along with an early scene in which Lisbeth exacts revenge on a bad man who never abused her but stands in for a host of others — the men who hate women, in other words. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Lisbeth Salander returns in the limp, faux-feminist The Girl in the Spider’s Web," 9 Nov. 2018 Although Streep's character is dead in the present-day timeline of the movie, her character lives on in flashbacks to that fateful summer. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Lily James Talks About the Pressure of Playing a Young Meryl Streep," 13 Oct. 2018 Vera Kelly introduces herself to us in flashbacks about growing up that are scattered within a spy story. Maureen Corrigan, chicagotribune.com, "Forget about 007. This heroine has her own brand of spycraft.," 21 June 2018 The flashbacks have been triggered by Britain’s heated debate over leaving the European Union, which has brought division, strife and fear of foreigners. Danica Kirka, The Seattle Times, "Brexhaustion: Long, grinding Brexit is stressing people out," 12 Apr. 2019 What seems more likely, if Brienne did in fact kill Stannis at the end of Season 5, is that his Season 8 appearance will take the form of a flashback or weird Bran vision quest moment or something. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Stannis Baratheon Is Returning to 'Game of Thrones' in Season 8, According to Stephen Dillane's Wikipedia Page," 6 Apr. 2019 How Maggie plays into those flashbacks will be interesting, too. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "The Walking Dead’s midseason finale got the show back on track," 26 Nov. 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

15 May 2019

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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

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using a distributed computer network

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