• synonyms


or flak·ey

adjective, flak·i·er, flak·i·est.
  1. of or like flakes.
  2. lying or cleaving off in flakes or layers.
  3. Slang. eccentric; wacky; dizzy: a flaky math professor.
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Origin of flaky

1570–80; 1965–70 for def 3; flake1 + -y1; sense of def. 3 probably flake4 + -y1, though influenced by flake1
Related formsflak·i·ly, adverbflak·i·ness, nounnon·flak·i·ly, adverbnon·flak·i·ly·ness, nounnon·flak·y, adjectiveun·flak·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for flakey

Historical Examples of flakey

  • It was dark in colour and flakey—such an ash as is only made by a Trichinopoly.

    A Study In Scarlet

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • A heavy purplish vapor in the crucible condensed on the walls into black, flakey crystals.

    Islands of Space

    John W Campbell

  • These should be light and flakey if made according to directions.

British Dictionary definitions for flakey


adjective flakier or flakiest
  1. like or made of flakes
  2. tending to peel off or break easily into flakes
  3. Also: flakey US slang eccentric; crazy
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Derived Formsflakily, adverbflakiness, noun
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 flakey



1570s, from flake + -y (2). Meaning "eccentric, crazy" first recorded 1959, said to be American English baseball slang, but probably from earlier druggie slang flake "cocaine" (1920s). Flake "eccentric person" is a 1968 back-formation from it.

The term 'flake' needs explanation. It's an insider's word, used throughout baseball, usually as an adjective; someone is considered 'flaky.' It does not mean anything so crude as 'crazy,' but it's well beyond 'screwball' and far off to the side of 'eccentric.' ["New York Times," April 26, 1964]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper