verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- any flexible, insulated electric cord; an electric cord or extension cord.
- Slang. an elastic band, as a garter.
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Origin of flex1
Words nearby flex
Definition for flex (2 of 3)
Origin of flex2
Definition for flex (3 of 3)
ABOUT THIS WORD
What else does flex mean?
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).
Okay this is an AirBus A380 sized flex. I have no choice in the matter. pic.twitter.com/1uqdEwpPG1
— LaCarlford Tarth (@DammitCARL) May 20, 2020
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.
just wanted to flex pic.twitter.com/1lkZ73OPN5
— aman ☥ (@ayemayen_) December 16, 2018
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.
Example sentences from the Web for flex
When it comes to tangible gifts, the sharing economy really starts to flex its holiday disrupting muscle.
Unlike Bond, constantly thwarting Soviet villains, Burlington never got a chance to flex its muscle.
Do you find it more difficult to flex your comedy muscle versus your dramatic one?Life After ‘SVU’: Christopher Meloni on ‘They Came Together,’ Stabler, and His Famous Behind|Marlow Stern|June 21, 2014|DAILY BEAST
But Sapan has yet to flex his holography skills with a sitting president.New York’s Hologram King Is Also the City’s Last Pro Holographer|Nina Strochlic|May 27, 2014|DAILY BEAST
But Russia continued to flex its muscles nonetheless in Syria and now in Ukraine.
On the inside we feel three tendons of important muscles on the back of the thigh which flex the leg upon the thigh.A Practical Physiology|Albert F. Blaisdell
Already the coiled muscles of his thighs were beginning to flex for a spring, when Valeria cried out.Red Nails|Robert E. Howard
Don't you see how I'll have to flex my muscles—like this—to show you how strong I am?Fanny Herself|Edna Ferber
The function of this tendon is to flex the foot at the fetlock.Special Report on Diseases of the Horse|United States Department of Agriculture
He studied his walk, his body movements, stripped him again and again and for the thousandth time made him flex all his muscles.The Turtles of Tasman|Jack London