Definition of flap in English:

flap

verb

  • 1[with object] (of a bird) move (its wings) up and down when flying or preparing to fly:

    ‘a pheasant flapped its wings’
    [no object] ‘gulls flapped around uttering their strange cries’
    • ‘Rather than flapping the wings from back to belly, as other birds do, the partridges flap from head to tail.’
    • ‘On the side of the road a male pigeon flaps his wings around a female.’
    • ‘If you took a parrot or a bird of prey, you'd hear it flapping its wings.’
    • ‘I've seen our power lines go down when a bird flaps its wings near them, so I'm thinking we may be in the dark tonight.’
    • ‘The six-week-old chicks flap their wings and attempt to fly in their section of the nursery.’
    • ‘During flight, hummingbirds sometimes flap their wings so rapidly that it causes the hum which gave the birds their name.’
    • ‘The dumb birds swarmed me, flapping their wings like crazy, making clucking sounds, and pecking at my legs.’
    • ‘An unusual physiotherapy session involving holding the buzzard while it flaps its wings, is now planned, to prepare the bird for release.’
    • ‘A bird dashed across the window, flapped its wings and shot off in to the black void.’
    • ‘In birds, the nestlings vocalize, stretch their bodies, flap their wings, and jockey for favorable feeding positions in the nest.’
    • ‘Perched atop a man's shoulder, this bird flaps her wings to the sounds during Thursday night's concert.’
    • ‘Hummingbirds can flap their wings up to 80 times per second.’
    • ‘He then moves his arm slightly so the bird wobbles, and flaps its wings to keep its balance.’
    • ‘Birds flapped their colorful wings as they settled here and there.’
    • ‘A colorful bird had stepped out of the forest, and was flapping its wings and turning around, as if trying to chase its tail.’
    • ‘A miniature bird flapped around his head, squawking indignantly.’
    • ‘Hummingbirds flap their wings at fantastic speeds which allow them to hover in midair while they feed.’
    • ‘These tiny birds can flap their wings up to 70 times per second.’
    • ‘The bird flapped its newly usable wing, bowed its little head towards Jace, and flew off.’
    • ‘Scientists have discovered that as each bird flaps its wings it creates uplift for the bird immediately following.’
    beat, flutter, move up and down, agitate, wave, wag, waggle, shake, swing, twitch
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[no object] (of something loosely fastened) flutter or wave around:
      ‘lines of washing flapped in the wind’
      • ‘The fibre doors flap in the stiff wind; a cursory glance is enough to tell me the toilets are yet to be used.’
      • ‘As the plants were locked away in a closed section next to the cafe, I strained my neck to see the price tags flapping furiously in the wind.’
      • ‘Tending the flagstick, the polite golfer is considerate enough to hold the flag against the pin to keep it from flapping if the wind is blowing.’
      • ‘The result: tight and shapely arms that you'll be proud to wave, and the confidence of knowing that nothing is flapping in the wind.’
      • ‘My wife says that one of her first memories of me is when she saw me cycling past her bus, with my mane flapping against the wind.’
      • ‘The guy had a long thin coat wrapped around him, its corners flapping as he walked.’
      • ‘But he missed three greens in his first nine holes Saturday as he battled swirling wind that had flags flapping.’
      • ‘A vintage sports car passed me and disappeared into the distance, the headscarf of the lady passenger flapping in the wind.’
      • ‘The sheets have been flapping furiously on the washing lines as if heralding the new front approaching from the west.’
      • ‘The skylights billow like sheets flapping in the wind and dancing curtains shine green and faintly red.’
      • ‘Shelley Singer stood in the doorway, her coat flapping in the chill wind.’
      • ‘Jamie lifted his head and looked at the green tent as it flapped and waved in the wind and rain.’
      • ‘They flapped in the wind, but only rarely were snapped in two by bashing against the toggle on your duffle coat.’
      • ‘He has a close up of the scarf flapping in the wind.’
      • ‘You see them everywhere: on the roadsides, clogging up ditches, flapping in the hot winds down dusty streets.’
      • ‘She closed her eyes and listened to the cloth flapping in the breeze.’
      • ‘Emery, known for steadiness, emerged, the lapels on his blue blazer flapping as he waved people out.’
      • ‘A thin breeze caught some strands of her short hair and sent some waves flapping in the wind.’
      • ‘There was nothing really on that corner, but it look a though it was flapping in the wind.’
      • ‘This motion always tended to loosen that sleeve from its anchor until finally (to the relief of the class) it flapped loosely about as a cape might.’
      flutter, swing, sway, ripple, undulate, stir, shake, quiver, shiver, tremble, fly, blow
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Move (something) up and down or to and fro:
      ‘he flapped the envelope in front of my face’
      • ‘They flap an umbrella, and walk it through the restaurant, dripping on the flagstones.’
      • ‘The process has been compared to moving a rug by flapping one end of it to create a wave, causing the rug to inch along bit by bit.’
      • ‘He flapped a clip board at me.’
      • ‘He then flapped the script in my direction, which in the circumstances was probably not that hygienic.’
      • ‘He then picked up all the real money and flapped it in my face.’
      • ‘‘You're not going to school without them,’ said Hysterical Mum Brenda, holding the boots out and flapping them in the air.’
    3. 1.3[with object and adverbial of direction] Strike at (something) loosely, especially to drive it away:
      ‘she flapped my hands away as she sat up’
  • 2British informal [no object] Be agitated or panicky:

    ‘it's all right, Mother, don't flap’
    • ‘The comment is restrained, yet behind the scenes you know technicians are flapping and executives are panicking.’
    • ‘I was still in an agitated state, so I spent the first few songs flapping about.’
    • ‘The maid flapped and fussed and settled her mistress in the chair, arranging cushions and shawls.’
    • ‘But she found that other people tended to flap and fuss over her problems more than she herself did, and if you wanted something done about the subject, it was best to do it yourself.’
    panic, go into a panic, become flustered, be agitated, fuss
    View synonyms

noun

  • 1A thin, flat piece of cloth, paper, metal, etc. that is hinged or attached on one side only and covers an opening or hangs down from something:

    ‘the flap of the envelope’
    ‘he pushed through the tent flap’
    • ‘Vents are the flaps of cloth below the waist, at the back.’
    • ‘She threw off her covers and ran to the tent flaps.’
    • ‘He nodded to Hazel and she left, watching Katrina until the flaps of the tent covered her face.’
    • ‘He answered the call and pulled the tent flap to one side.’
    • ‘The dog-eared flap of cardboard hung on the fence post, stained by a lengthy exposure to the elements.’
    • ‘In a centered closure, the zipper is concealed by two flaps of cloth running along either side.’
    • ‘They are all instant communications that are far less bother than putting pen to paper, finding an envelope, licking the flap, sticking on a stamp and popping it in a post box.’
    • ‘Through the metal flaps in the vent I could see that it wasn't the police, but it was the F.B.I. instead.’
    • ‘The neck is covered by flaps attached to the vest.’
    • ‘Turin opened the entrance flap and allowed her to walk in first.’
    • ‘Caroline had moved to where his tent stood open, the flaps pinned back to allow easy entrance.’
    • ‘This was a narrow oblong table with a single broad hinged flap.’
    • ‘To maintain secrecy, the return ballot paper envelope had a detachable flap on which the voter filled in their details.’
    • ‘He flipped back a flap of the cloth and a crying baby's face was revealed to his sight.’
    • ‘She shoved the supplies at him and pointed at the tent flap.’
    • ‘It was a very large room, looking like a gym only a bit smaller, and there were several holes in the side of the wall that were covered up by metal flaps which looked like they could be opened.’
    • ‘He went inside and opened the flap on the keypad for the security alarm.’
    • ‘I pick up my book bag, a black and red mailman style bag, the front flap completely covered in band pins and buttons.’
    • ‘There was the lilac coloured dress which rested at my ankles and had all these weird flaps of cloth everywhere.’
    • ‘The cloth flaps were open, invitingly, yet forebodingly, as well.’
    fold, overhang, overlap, covering
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A hinged or sliding section of an aircraft wing used to control lift:
      ‘flaps are normally moved by the hydraulics’
      • ‘An aeroplane requires a set of wings for lift, wing flaps and rear rudder for control and engines for propulsion.’
      • ‘The left wing is now finished as are the flaps and ailerons while the wing tips are nearing completion.’
      • ‘The wing was also equipped with flaps which lowered the landing speed down to 50-60 mph.’
      • ‘Though the checklist might not say it, open your aircraft's cowl flaps on short final.’
      • ‘At the pilot's command, retract the landing gear and raise the wing flaps.’
      • ‘Pilots need a complex endorsement to fly airplanes with retractable gear, flaps and a constant-speed propeller.’
      • ‘Another consideration is to minimize the drag devices: the landing gear, the flaps and the windmilling propeller.’
      • ‘Agglomerations of wings and cowling, flaps, rudders and fuselage rise dramatically from narrow steel legs.’
      • ‘Maybe they noted that pilots had problems maintaining control of the aircraft in some way while retracting the flaps after taking off.’
      • ‘The problem, he said, had been traced to an actuator - a device that drives flaps and other aircraft control surfaces.’
      • ‘Initial drawings showed an aircraft with a tightly cowled radial engine, streamlined fuselage, retractable landing gear and flaps.’
      • ‘The wing and the center section flaps were interconnected and operated together.’
      • ‘I finally got things under control, raised the flaps, leveled off at 10,000 feet.’
      • ‘The aircraft also have composite ailerons, spoilers, flaps, vertical tail skin and horizontal tail skin, but they have aluminum wings.’
      • ‘The missile launcher and the trailing edges of the flaps and aileron took most of the damage.’
      • ‘Retract flaps and the landing gear to prevent ice accumulation on them.’
      • ‘The ailerons, flaps, and speed brakes are back on the aircraft.’
      • ‘The landing gear and wing flaps were retracted.’
      • ‘New flaps and ailerons were built and installed.’
      • ‘He reduced power, lowered his flaps and readied the aircraft to land.’
  • 2An act of flapping something, typically a wing or arm, up and down or from side to side:

    ‘the surviving bird made a few final despairing flaps’
    • ‘The Butterfly Effect derives its name from the chaos theory which suggests that the simple flap of a butterfly's wings has the potential to set off a tornado thousands of miles away.’
    • ‘It hovers for two flaps and draws its head back to strike.’
    • ‘He could feel the wind blowing his bangs backwards and could hear the soft flap of his headband.’
    • ‘Residents have enjoyed watching the young birds progress from falling to the ground after a couple flaps of their wings to confident flyers.’
    flutter, fluttering, beat, beating, waving, shaking, flailing
    View synonyms
  • 3informal [in singular] A state of agitation; a panic:

    ‘your Gran was in a flap, worrying she'd put her foot in it’
    • ‘An injured cygnet had a rescue team in a flap as it took five days to catch in Chippenham.’
    • ‘Clark was booted off the show in a flap over a previous arrest he didn't tell producers about.’
    • ‘I sheltered behind bales of browned heather, the only place where I could re-fold my map without getting in a flap.’
    • ‘However I got up late and having to go to work was in a flap this morning.’
    • ‘It caused mass perturbation in Ireland and had the whole country in a flap when it was published - and no wonder.’
    • ‘We all laugh, and nobody gets in a flap about that.’
    • ‘An Ilkley theatre audience was left in a flap by a mystery guest that entered from the wings - quite literally.’
    • ‘Now, I know Mother well, I know her tendency to get into a flap; I should have expected something.’
    • ‘Never one to get in a flap, Nigel agreed to give the bird a temporary home while he sought the owner.’
    • ‘I remember a Christmas, not too long ago, when I was in a flap because our new daughter-in-law was coming for Christmas Dinner and I wanted it to be perfect.’
    • ‘A lovesick swan in search of his mate got in a flap when he crash-landed on to railway lines in the centre of York.’
    • ‘There's nothing quite like journalists in a flap to make a cold-ridden Tuesday afternoon more enjoyable.’
    • ‘Dot's in a flap, but Sonia gives her a mantra to repeat.’
    • ‘Kind-hearted Duncan had them all in a flap when he took the lost bird to court to reunite it with its anxious owner.’
    • ‘My neighbour Virginia recently arrived at my house in a flap, having just had lunch in a restaurant and drunk two glasses of wine.’
    • ‘A stork had bird watchers in a flap when it flew away from a stately home.’
    • ‘Size isn't important, or so the saying goes… but abseilers might think differently after a banner left them, and Rochdale Council, in a flap.’
    • ‘The most important trick is to listen to the answers, which sounds simple but isn't if you are in a flap.’
    • ‘They might not be the best looking birds, but an ugly turkey contest has got a Cheshire farmer in a flap.’
    • ‘A rare visitor to Salford has got twitchers all over Britain in a flap.’
    fuss, agitation, commotion, stir, hubbub, excitement, tumult, ado, storm, uproar, flurry
    panic, fluster, state of agitation, state of panic
    View synonyms
  • 4A large broad mushroom.

  • 5Phonetics
    A type of consonant produced by allowing the tip of the tongue to strike the palate very briefly.

Phrases

  • someone's ears are flapping

    • informal Someone is trying to a listen to a conversation between other people.

Origin

Middle English: probably imitative.

Pronunciation

flap

/flap/