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Question 1 of 7
What does “Indigenous” mean?

Origin of flex

1
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

Definition for flex (2 of 3)

flex2
[ fleks ]
/ flɛks /

adjective

Informal. flexible: a flex program of workers' benefits.

Origin of flex

2
shortening of flexible

Definition for flex (3 of 3)

flex-

a combining form representing flexible in compound words: flextime.
Also flexi-.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

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.

Note

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.

British Dictionary definitions for flex

flex
/ (flɛks) /

noun

British a flexible insulated electric cable, used esp to connect appliances to mainsUS and Canadian name: cord
informal flexibility or pliability

verb

to bend or be benthe flexed his arm; his arm flexed
to contract (a muscle) or (of a muscle) to contract
(intr) to work according to flexitime
to test or display (one's authority or strength)

Word Origin for flex

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

flex
[ flĕks ]

v.

To bend.
To contract a muscle.
To move a joint so that the parts it connects approach each other.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.