What 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 others. The act of flexing is often criticized as a power move, considered arrogant and insincere. 

Examples of flex


Examples of flex
Do u ever just flex on your lactose intolerant self and drink a glass of milk
@tomlinthot_, December 2018
“I’m out here flexing to y’all broke-ass haters!” she crows, like a Lost Boy from hell, in one of her Instagram posts.
Lil Tay quoted by Thuy Ong, The Verge, May 2018
bts got the same amount of streams on Spotify as big Western artists and groups who get 10 times more radio play, televison play and promotion in comparison while bts never even tweeted out their Spotify link, this flex
@zealtae, December 2018

Where does flex come from?

Meme Generator

The term flex has been used as black slang for “courage” or “showing guts” 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 nigga’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 might be ready for a gang or prison fight. This became a metaphor for someone displaying 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.” Their 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. That didn’t stop Rae Sremmurd from flexing about their own swagger throughout the rest song. 

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, niggas 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. A tweeter used that expression to remark on US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s comments on how long he remained a virgin.

Who uses flex?

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

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