[ flash-bak ]
/ ˈflæʃˌbæk /


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.
  1. the spontaneous recurrence of visual hallucinations or other effects of a drug, as LSD, long after the use of the drug has been discontinued.
  2. 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. 2019

Examples from the Web for flashback

British Dictionary definitions for flashback

/ (ˈflæʃˌbæk) /


a transition in a novel, film, etc, to an earlier scene or event

verb flash back

(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

Medical definitions for flashback

[ flăshbăk′ ]


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.