- a device in the narrative of a motion picture, novel, etc., by which an event or scene taking place before the present time in the narrative is inserted into the chronological structure of the work.
- an event or scene so inserted.
- Also called flashback hallucinosis. Psychiatry.
- the spontaneous recurrence of visual hallucinations or other effects of a drug, as LSD, long after the use of the drug has been discontinued.
- recurrent and abnormally vivid recollection of a traumatic experience, as a battle, sometimes accompanied by hallucinations.
Origin of flashback
1910–15; 1965–70 for def 3; noun use of verb phrase flash back
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for flashback
While excoriating the IRS, Huckabee brings his readers along on a flashback to his youth.Huckabee 2016: Bend Over and Take It Like a Prisoner!
January 8, 2015
No, that would be the flashback revelation that Ross and Monica accidentally kissed once at a party.15 Times ‘Friends’ Was Really, Really Weird
September 18, 2014
In a flashback scene, Alicia tries to rebuild her life by interviewing for jobs and returning to work.Julianna Margulies's Favorite 'The Good Wife' Scenes
August 11, 2014
To give just one example of the way that culture has influenced how we think about trauma, consider the “flashback.”Surviving War Doesn’t Turn All Veterans into Victims, Sometimes it Helps Them Grow
May 18, 2014
Or when Alvy Singer and Annie watch a flashback of her former boyfriend.A.J. Jacobs: How I Write
May 29, 2013
He woke to find Billy gone, and had a momentary panic, a flashback to the day that Fred had gone missing in the night.Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town
- a transition in a novel, film, etc, to an earlier scene or event
- (intr, adverb) to return in a novel, film, etc, to a past event
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for flashback
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- An unexpected recurrence of the effects of a hallucinogenic drug long after its original use.
- A recurring, intensely vivid mental image of a past traumatic experience.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.