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 toflashed back to my childhood
2 : to employ a flashback (as in a film) usually used with to

Examples of flashback in a Sentence

Noun 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 Drenched in dread, Wyeth’s story is told mainly by an anonymous narrator via 84 flashback scenes reamed with abrupt, enigmatic silences. J. Michael Lennon, Washington Post, "A new collection of Joan Didion’s work reminds us that she is her most memorable character," 7 Nov. 2019 Penelope Cruz portrays Salvador’s mother, Jacinta, in flashback; Julieta Serrano plays her in her later years. Lisa Kennedy, The Know, "Antonio Banderas on revealing the private life of legendary writer-director Pedro Almodóvar," 24 Oct. 2019 Told in flashback, the movie opens describing Norton's foray into encounter and support groups as a possible antidote to his insomnia. Patrick Z. Mcgavin, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Fight Club': THR's 1999 Review," 15 Oct. 2019 Ms Cruz is introduced as Mallo’s mother in a flashback, but when the character reappears closer to the present day, she is played by a much older actress who looks and behaves nothing like her former iteration. N.e.g., The Economist, "“Pain and Glory” and the question of autobiographical art," 7 Oct. 2019 Although their mother was killed, she'll be shown in a flashback in the new movie. Laura Hanrahan, Woman's Day, "Everything We Know About 'Frozen 2,' Which Is Bound To Be 'An Epic Mystery'," 28 Aug. 2019 In a flashback, when Rue’s father passes away from cancer in the family’s home, the hoodie is left behind on his bed. Teen Vogue, "HBO Is Selling Rue's Maroon Hoodie from "Euphoria"," 11 Aug. 2019 Two are bass-baritones and three are tenors, adults reliving their ordeal in flashback, but there’s no indication as to who is who, since none of them are named until fairly late in the opera. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "‘The Central Park Five’ Review: Questions of Crime and Punishment," 18 June 2019 Others experience severe anxiety or have flashbacks to the event. AZCentral.com, "Police shootings in Arizona," 10 Sep. 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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Time Traveler for flashback

Time Traveler

The first known use of flashback was in 1903

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Statistics for flashback

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Flashback.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flashes%20back. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for flashback


How to pronounce flash back (audio)

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

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strength of mind

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