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
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.