View synonyms for flex



[ fleks ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to bend, as a part of the body:

    He flexed his arms to show off his muscles.

  2. to tighten (a muscle) by contraction.
  3. to demonstrate (one’s ability, expertise, etc.):

    She’s flexed her marketing skills for various clients in the publishing industry.

  4. Slang. to boast or brag about; flaunt:

    He’s just not into flexing his success.

verb (used without object)

  1. to bend.
  2. Slang. to boast or brag; show off:

    In his rap lyrics he flexes about his fancy lifestyle.


  1. the act of flexing.
  2. Slang. a boast or brag:

    It's not a flex, but we have the best burgers here.

  3. British.
    1. any flexible, insulated electric cord; an electric cord or extension cord.
    2. Slang. an elastic band, as a garter.
  4. Mathematics. an inflection point.

verb phrase

  1. Slang. to brag or show off to; assert one’s dominance or superiority over:

    She’s flexing on her haters by posting new photos of her beautiful family.



[ fleks ]


  1. Informal. flexible:

    a flex program of workers' benefits.


  1. a combining form representing flexible in compound words:



/ flɛks /


  1. a flexible insulated electric cable, used esp to connect appliances to mains US and Canadian namecord
  2. informal.
    flexibility or pliability


  1. to bend or be bent

    his arm flexed

    he flexed his arm

  2. to contract (a muscle) or (of a muscle) to contract
  3. intr to work according to flexitime
  4. to test or display (one's authority or strength)

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Word History and Origins

Origin of flex1

First recorded in 1515–25; (adjective) from Latin flexus, past participle of flectere “to bend, turn”; (noun) from Latin flexus act of bending, equivalent to flect(ere) + -tus suffix of verbal action

Origin of flex2

Shortening of flexible

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Word History and Origins

Origin of flex1

C16: from Latin flexus bent, winding, from flectere to bend, bow

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Example Sentences

The moon is believed to be a geologically active world, like the Earth, because the strong tidal flexing heats its rocky, metallic interior and keeps it partially molten.

This thick bag is made of a durable fabric with a waterproof finish and has an outer surface that flexes to the shape of the contents within, making it a good choice for comprehensive protection of irregularly shaped items.

Similarly, as a first-time CEO, I often have to flex muscles I’ve never used before.

From Fortune

Omnicom CEO John Wren, who has already cut 6,100 jobs, told analysts last month that each one of the holding group’s individual offices has action plans in place that “flex up and down” in response to ad spending.

From Digiday

They’re starting to flex that muscle, with demands from athletes in the Pac 12 and Big Ten conferences that mix health and safety with racial and economic justice, combined with a threat not to play if their demands aren’t met.

From Ozy

Companies like Delta, Apple, and Nike flex their political muscle on behalf of gay rights.

When it comes to tangible gifts, the sharing economy really starts to flex its holiday disrupting muscle.

He flipped the two women onto their stomachs, flex-cuffing their wrists.

You wear a FitBit Flex, Jawbone Up, or Nike Fuel Band on your wrist, and go about your normal day.

Unlike Bond, constantly thwarting Soviet villains, Burlington never got a chance to flex its muscle.

She saw again the splendid flex of his side and powerful thigh.

He picked it up and flexed it a bit, as a man might flex a rapier to test its material.

The Wall Street man lifted one of the hands, tried to flex the arm that held it.

A few airy flex-strung bridges had been completed to link them, but there was still an extensive boat traffic.

He paused long enough to flex a presentable bicep with pardonable pride.


Related Words

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About This Word

What else does flex mean?

Flex is a slang term meaning “to show off,” whether it be your physique, your belongings, or some other thing you consider superior to those of others. The act of flexing is often criticized as a power move, considered arrogant and insincere.

Where does flex come from?

The term flex has been used as Black slang for “showing courage” or “showing off” since the 1990s. Rapper Ice Cube notably used it in his 1992 song, “It Was a Good Day”: “Saw the police and they rolled right past me / No flexin’, didn’t even look in a n*gga’s direction as I ran the intersection.”

Flex comes from flexing one’s muscles, i.e., to show how physically strong you are, or, originally, how you are ready for a fight. This became a metaphor for someone displaying in some way that they think they’re better than others.

Flex came into mainstream popularity in 2014 thanks to hip-hop due’s Rae Sremmurd’s “No Flex Zone.” The song refrains: “No flex zone, No flex zone / They know better, they know better.” This no flex zone is apparently a space where you can be true to yourself, not feeling compelled to show off, judge, and put others down, i.e., hating on people and being fake.

Flex was further popularized by Rich Homie’s Quan’s 2015 song, “Flex (Ooh Ooh Ooh)” which features the lyrics: “Cause I got a check, n*ggas wanna flex / Ain’t gotta flex but I got it, ooohh.”

Flex also gained prominence in spring 2018 through its frequent use by Lil Tay, a young Canadian internet celebrity who called herself “the youngest flexer of the century.” Later that fall, the expression weird flex, but OK—a snarky response to when someone boasts about something considered odd or embarrassing—went viral.

How is flex used in real life?

Flex typically carries a negative connotation, as nobody likes a showoff or braggart. Flex can imply one isn’t being genuine (in slang, being real) or is forcing a sense of superiority (in slang, fronting).

Flex is also often used in negative constructions, e.g., a call for no flexing. It can also be a noun (instance of showing off) or a verb (to show off). Stunt is a similar slang term.


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.