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  • IPA(key): /flæp/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æp

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English flap, flappe (a slap; blow; buffet; fly-flap; something flexible or loose; flap), related to Saterland Frisian Flappert (wing, flipper), Middle Dutch flabbe (a blow; slap on the face; fly-flap; flap) (modern Dutch flap (flap)), Middle Low German flabbe, vlabbe, flebbe, from the verb (see below). Related also to English flab and flabby.


flap (plural flaps)

  1. Anything broad and flexible that hangs loose, or that is attached by one side or end and is easily moved.
    a flap of a garment
    The envelope flap seemed curiously wrinkled.
    • 1686, Sir Thomas Browne, chapter VIII, in The Works of the Learned Sr. Thomas Brown: Containing, Enquiries Into Vulgar and Common Errors, etc[1], book IV:
      Again, Beside these parts destin'd to divers offices, there is a peculiar provision for the wind-pipe, that is, a cartilagineous flap upon the opening of the Larynx or Throttle, which hath an open cavity for the admiffion of the air
    • 1998 October, Robert H. Mohlenbrock, “Twin Peaks”, in Natural History, volume 107, number 8, page 73:
      The hairs guide the pollinating insect to the base of the petal, where there is a purplish nectary covered by a flap of tissue.
  2. A hinged leaf.
    the flaps of a table
    the flap of a shutter
  3. (aviation) A hinged surface on the trailing edge of the wings of an aeroplane, used to increase lift and drag.
  4. A side fin of a ray.
    Synonym: wing
  5. The motion of anything broad and loose, or a sound or stroke made with it.
    the flap of a sail
    the flap of a wing
    • 1913, Joseph C[rosby] Lincoln, chapter IV, in Mr. Pratt’s Patients, New York, N.Y., London: D[aniel] Appleton and Company, →OCLC:
      Then he commenced to talk, really talk. and inside of two flaps of a herring's fin he had me mesmerized, like Eben Holt's boy at the town hall show. He talked about the ills of humanity, and the glories of health and Nature and service and land knows what all.
  6. A controversy, scandal, stir, or upset.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:commotion
    The comment caused quite a flap in the newspapers.
    • 1962, Madeleine L’Engle, “Absolute Zero”, in A Wrinkle in Time, New York, N.Y.: Ariel Books, →OCLC; republished New York, N.Y.: Ariel Books, 1973 printing, →ISBN, page 167:
      “[…] We saw him vanish right in front of the rest of us. He was there and then he wasn’t. We were to wait for a year for his return or for some message. We waited. Nothing.” / Calvin, his voice cracking: “Jeepers, sir. You must have been in sort of a flap.
    • 1980 April 19, Mitzel, “Barbre Murder Grand Jury: Puccini Outtake”, in Gay Community News, page 1:
      The current Middlesex grand jury [] is once again on the case, partly as the result of the public flap created by Brill's death and, of course, by the series of articles written by Corsetti in the month after Brill's demise.
  7. (phonetics) A consonant sound made by a single muscle contraction, such as the sound /ɾ/ in the standard American English pronunciation of body.
    Synonym: tap
  8. (surgery) A piece of tissue incompletely detached from the body, as an intermediate stage of plastic surgery.
  9. (slang, vulgar, chiefly in the plural) The labia, the vulva.
  10. (obsolete) A blow or slap (especially to the face).
    • 1450, Palladius on Husbondrieː
      Ware the horn and heels lest they fling a flap to thee.
    • a1500 The Prose Merlinː
      The squire lift up his hand and gave him such a flap that all they in the chapel might it hear.
  11. (obsolete) A young prostitute.
    • 1631, James Mabbe, Celestina, IX. 110:
      Fall to your flap, my Masters, kisse and clip. [] Come hither, you foule flappes.


Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English flappen (to flap, clap, slap, strike), related to Dutch flappen (to flap), German Low German flappen (to flap), German flappen (to flap), Dutch flabberen (to flit, flap). Probably ultimately imitative.


Domestic pigeons flap their wings.

flap (third-person singular simple present flaps, present participle flapping, simple past and past participle flapped)

An Australian flag flaps in the wind.
  1. (transitive) To move (something broad and loose) up and down.
    The crow slowly flapped its wings.
    Startled, the wood pigeon flew off, its wings flapping noisily.
    • 2004, Robert Jordan, New Spring, page 316:
      He could be flapping his tongue about you right this minute to anybody who'll bloody listen.
  2. (intransitive) To move loosely back and forth.
    The flag flapped in the breeze.
    • 2011 September 29, Tom Rostance, “Stoke 2 - 1 Besiktas”, in BBC Sport[2]:
      Former Turkey goalkeeper Rustu Recber flapped at his first Delap throw but was given a soft free-kick by referee Antony Gautier.
  3. (phonetics, transitive) To pronounce (something) as a flap consonant.
  4. (phonetics, intransitive) To be pronounced with a flap consonant.
  5. (computing, telecommunications, intransitive, of a resource or network destination) To be advertised as being available and then unavailable (or available by different routes) in rapid succession.
Derived terms[edit]




From Middle Dutch flabbe, probably ultimately imitative.



flap m (plural flappen, diminutive flapje n)

  1. flap (something flexible that is loose)
  2. (colloquial) banknote

Derived terms[edit]



flap m (plural flaps)

  1. (aeronautics) flap

Further reading[edit]



flap (nominative plural flaps)

  1. blow, hit


Derived terms[edit]