verb (used without object), flapped, flap·ping.

verb (used with object), flapped, flap·ping.


Origin of flap

1275–1325; Middle English flappe a blow, slap, flappen to hit, slap; compare Dutch flap, flappen
Related formsflap·less, adjectiveun·flap·ping, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for flap

Contemporary Examples of flap

Historical Examples of flap

  • A five, a four and the main,' shouted the big man, with a voice like the flap of a sail.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Anthony lifted the flap, holding up the lantern, and we both looked in.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • Oh, I wish you could have seen him flap his wings with delight.

  • Then he let down the flap, and examined the empty pigeon-holes and dusty panelling.

    The Golden Age

    Kenneth Grahame

  • I put gun and maps in the right pocket; food in that flap behind you.

    Under Arctic Ice

    H.G. Winter

British Dictionary definitions for flap


verb flaps, flapping or flapped

to move (wings or arms) up and down, esp in or as if in flying, or (of wings or arms) to move in this way
to move or cause to move noisily back and forth or up and downthe curtains flapped in the breeze
(intr) informal to become agitated or flustered; panic
to deal (a person or thing) a blow with a broad flexible object
(tr sometimes foll by down) to toss, fling, slam, etc, abruptly or noisily
(tr) phonetics to pronounce (an (r) sound) by allowing the tongue to give a single light tap against the alveolar ridge or uvula


the action, motion, or noise made by flappingwith one flap of its wings the bird was off
a piece of material, etc, attached at one edge and usually used to cover an opening, as on a tent, envelope, or pocket
a blow dealt with a flat object; slap
a movable surface fixed to the trailing edge of an aircraft wing that increases lift during takeoff and drag during landing
surgery a piece of tissue partially connected to the body, either following an amputation or to be used as a graft
informal a state of panic, distress, or agitation
phonetics an (r) produced by allowing the tongue to give a single light tap against the alveolar ridge or uvula

Word Origin for flap

C14: probably of imitative origin
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 flap

mid-14c., flappe "a blow, slap," probably imitative of the sound of striking. Meaning "something that hangs down" is first recorded 1520s. Sense of "motion or noise like a bird's wing" is 1774; meaning "disturbance, noisy tumult" is 1916, British slang.


early 14c., "dash about, shake;" later "strike, hit;" see flap (n.). Meaning "to swing loosely" is from 1520s. Related: Flapped; flapping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

flap in Medicine




Tissue used in surgical grafting that is only partially detached from its donor site so that it continues to be nourished during transfer to the recipient site.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.