Definition of flick in US English:



  • 1A sudden sharp movement.

    ‘the flick of a switch’
    ‘a flick of the wrist’
    • ‘In the flick of a switch, the spotlight is on the Christian Democrats.’
    • ‘Shimoyo's face hardened with determination, and with a single quick movement and flick of her wings, she rotated her body into a headfirst dive.’
    • ‘Her instinct told her what was inside, and with a quick flick of her hand, she grabbed the pouch and withdrew it into her cloak.’
    • ‘A quick flick of a highly versatile head of hair, a simple body movement or a flick of his greatcoat and each female individual is clearly drawn.’
    • ‘The paperboy rode by on a bike, flinging his papers with a quick flick of his wrist and amazing accuracy.’
    • ‘So, the resting state of a neuron is negative, and a change in state is signalled by short, sharp flicks towards 0.’
    • ‘Lexi balled up a napkin and bounced it off his forehead with a deft flick of her wrist.’
    • ‘The USA had gotten used to cheap power available at the flick of a switch.’
    • ‘With a quick flick of her arm, she turned Juliette around.’
    • ‘I saw a flick of brown hair and a thin arm.’
    • ‘He bent down next to the safe bolted to the floor and - with a few quick flicks of his wrist on the combination knob - he opened it.’
    • ‘The cop showed him the quarter in his left hand and then with a couple of quick flicks of the wrist, the quarter disappeared.’
    • ‘With a quick flick of her head, her hair re-arranged itself.’
    • ‘There's nothing subtler than a quick flick of the hair when you spot that hot honey from your French class.’
    • ‘The Sorceress Queen had entered and with a flick of her wand the bottle had disappeared.’
    • ‘A couple more flicks of the switch adjust the flame height and heat output.’
    • ‘She rested the weight on her hip, as the young man smiled at her and with a quick flick of his head indicated for them to leave the crowded area.’
    • ‘I turned on the ignition switch and gave the twist-grip throttle a quick flick.’
    • ‘He caught it with a deft flick of the hand and then examined the ring.’
    • ‘A quick flick of his wrist turned a dial and started a timer.’
    jerk, snap, flip, stroke, brush, sweep, swipe, whisk, dab, jab, click, touch
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The sudden release of a bent finger or thumb, especially to propel a small object.
      ‘he sent his cigarette spinning away with a flick of his fingers’
      • ‘With a smirk, she stretches out her arm and with the flick of a finger, blows the creature back 4 feet.’
      • ‘Ah, just learning how to raise the dead and kill thousands of men at the flick of a finger.’
      • ‘I saw his finger flick over the alphabetical headings until it reached C, and I knew in advance what I or he was going to choose.’
      • ‘Hamma sat beside me staring intently forward and indicating the direction that we should take with a flick of his finger.’
      • ‘Upon seeing the empty bag Jamie said ‘It's in your pocket’ but of course it wasn't and with a flick of a finger, the egg was back in the bag.’
      • ‘Tim continued to chat casually at the girl, who, with a flick of his fingers, had lost her voice.’
      • ‘With a thin smile, Asana hurled Darren backward with a flick of his finger, making the Barbarian fall heavily on the platform.’
      • ‘Another flick of her finger and Dustin felt his ear being pulled toward her.’
      • ‘With a flick of his fingers, Balen sends the orbits spinning.’
      • ‘He gives no mercy and can kill anyone with a flick of his finger.’
      • ‘With a deft flick of his fingers he tossed the bhaji onto the plate and as it bounced up high into the air, he struck it with perfect timing across the room with his knife.’
      • ‘There were dozens of creatures; some were so imposing of size that they would kill most of the army with the mere flick of a finger.’
      • ‘Here, as you withdraw your arm from the finger flick you turn to the left to face the man on your left.’
      • ‘She has little care for anything and a mere flick of her finger will make the strongest of warriors tremble, wither and die.’
      • ‘Easily deployed via a flick of the index finger, it's an elegant and satisfying solution to the problem of on-the-go spills.’
      • ‘Sensing that he had built up enough power, Tony unleashed it all with a flick of his finger.’
      • ‘He picked an unlighted torch off the wall and with a simple flick of his finger, ignited it.’
      • ‘I am a force so terrifying that I can kill a ten thousand strong army with just a flick of my finger.’
      • ‘With a flick of invisible fingers it sent a tiny, blood-red stone skittering across the table to Tamani.’
      • ‘A flick of Neecer's finger sent the other Men of Truth to stand by the door, on guard.’
    2. 1.2 A light, sharp, quickly retracted blow, especially with a whip.
      • ‘A flick of a lighter and the flame licked at a thin cigar.’
      • ‘The man nodded, and when she turned, she heard the flick of the whip as the horse began to hurry away.’
      • ‘A final flick brought the whip back, and the archer fell.’
      • ‘He gave the reins in his hand a light flick and the palomino horse beneath him trotted down the road toward the community that supported the castle.’
      • ‘He is still something of a baby and when I gave him one flick of the whip he picked up.’
      • ‘With a flick of his tail, he propelled himself out of the ball.’
      • ‘They warned off the crocodiles with no more than an irritated flick of their tail.’
      • ‘The flick of a whip started the carriage rolling and bumping over the rough street.’
      • ‘A few flicks of the brain whip might be enough to get the brown shirts back in line, but you never know.’
      • ‘Gombo gave Rodgers a light flick on the calves from his snakeskin lash.’
      • ‘If I happened to be slacking off, as was too often the case, I would feel the gentle query like the flick of a whip.’
      • ‘Alison jumped up and caught it then gave it a quick flick as she rolled over for a dive back down to the ground.’
      • ‘There was the flick of a lighter, and I could smell burning incense.’
      • ‘Her words were like the lightest flick of a knife to Lupe, counterweighted by the sensation her smile sent through him.’
      • ‘Bethany reached over and grabbed her nightie that was laid on the bed and in one swift flick whipped Toby with it.’
      • ‘When he introduced Magico with a flick of the whip, the horse stood straight up on his hind legs and pawed the air, walking toward the spectators.’
      • ‘A single flick of his whip brought out their legs from beneath them and a stronger strike killed over seven of them without being attacked effectively once.’
  • 2informal A motion picture.

    ‘a Hollywood action flick’
    • ‘Yep, Hollywood's done it again, but thankfully the resulting flick is a good film in its own right - a rarity amongst remakes.’
    • ‘The society will screen alternative and classic films every fortnight at the Star Court Theatre including classic French, B grade horror, Hong Kong action and film noir flicks.’
    • ‘I went through all the requisite phases - making gross-out gore films, gothic cemetery-based flicks and even dabbled in animation.’
    • ‘They're industrial films, educational classroom flicks and promotional movies made to be seen briefly and then trashed.’
    • ‘The rest of the movie becomes a revenge flick, in which the established feel of the film is thrown away in favour of gun battles and bloodshed.’
    • ‘With only a few different takes, this is still a classic film noir private eye flick.’
    • ‘After seeing it, I thought, am I equipped to review a kids' flick?’
    • ‘I looked like the first person to die in one of those stupid teen slasher flicks.’
    • ‘In some ways this film is a whodunit as well as a horror flick.’
    • ‘I love horror movies and action flicks, though sometimes my soul and mind yearn for something more, something healthier.’
    • ‘This is a hilarious send-up of corny Hollywood action flicks, cut like a movie trailer.’
    • ‘On its own terms, it makes an okay B-grade horror flick.’
    • ‘I had gone to Nell's to see if she wanted to catch a flick.’
    • ‘She made me watch some chick flick called Sweet Home Alabama.’
    • ‘It is basically his homage to all the old school spaghetti westerns, samurai flicks and even Japanese animation films of the past, to which Tarantino is a huge fan.’
    • ‘He also appeared in numerous Clint Eastwood flicks, including High Plains Drifter, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, and Every Which Way But Loose.’
    • ‘They are Judi Dench and Maggie Smith and they are debuting their new flick at your film festival.’
    • ‘Judge Mitchell Hattaway thinks this horror flick is the best film ever made.’
    • ‘Film songs from Bollywood flicks could be heard booming loudly out of buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws.’
    • ‘The only new films on the coasts today are art house flicks.’
    movie, picture, feature, feature film
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1the flicksBritish The movies.
      ‘fancy a night at the flicks?’
      • ‘Stuart Fermor settles on the swings for a night at the flicks.’
      • ‘At the weekend, the kids were at a sleep over so I went to the flicks with the wife.’
      • ‘It could be popcorn and chocolates or something a bit stronger on your average night out at the flicks.’
      • ‘She catches up with her friends, she shops, she goes to the flicks, she misses her family (her mum phones three times during our chat).’


[with object]
  • 1Propel (something) with a sudden sharp movement, especially of the fingers.

    ‘Emily flicked some ash off her sleeve’
    • ‘In my dream I flicked it about a bit with my finger and then curiosity got the better of me and I decided to look underneath the flap.’
    • ‘The ball is bouncing harmlessly in the middle of the pitch when Best controls it and in one fluid movement flicks it from his left foot on to his right foot, then blasts a volley into the net.’
    • ‘Shaking fingers flicked ashes off the end of a cigarette that had yet to touch his lips.’
    • ‘Players use their fingers to flick their players and the miniature ball simultaneously to move around the pitch.’
    • ‘Again Fiona rolled her eyes, so I flicked my index finger at her.’
    • ‘He calls Thomas Levet ‘Frenchy’ and flicks lit cigarettes at him.’
    • ‘Expecting the watch to fix itself, he flicked it with his finger, yet nothing happened.’
    • ‘She dipped her fingers in the glass flicking the liquid on Sally's face.’
    • ‘Nader spun the immigration official a line about how the application was very urgent because I was a journalist in a hurry and we took our seats alongside a haggard Afghan flicking worry beads between his fingers.’
    • ‘She lifted the chunky Celtic cross which perpetually weighed her neck down and flicked it with a finger as if it was a musical triangle to show it was made of pure, die cast metal.’
    • ‘He flicks her braids out of the way and runs a finger down the back of her neck.’
    • ‘Do not flick your cigarette ash in someone's eye.’
    • ‘Simon picked it up, and with a quick twitch flicked the little drop of sweat off and onto Tebert's itinerary.’
    • ‘Jessica was leaning on the table now, her chin resting in the palm of her hand as she flicked her index finger over her cheek.’
    • ‘A quick break down the left led to Warren Feeney flicking the ball into the path of his strike partner, who stroked home a glorious right-footed drive into the roof of the net from 25 yards.’
    • ‘Chelsea plays with the tip of a spider plant, flicking it with her fingers.’
    • ‘When the nurse returned she gave the glass of water to Dominick who stuck his finger tips in and flicked a bit of water on to Kayla's face.’
    • ‘He flicked it against the striker, and, his fingers shaking as he held it up, it sputtered into flame.’
    • ‘Rolling his eyes in disbelief, Jamie faced the sky and flicked a bit of ash down below.’
    • ‘Jordan practically purred, her perfectly manicured finger flicking his nose.’
    click, snap, flip, jerk
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1no object Make a sudden sharp movement.
      ‘the finch's tail flicks up and down’
      • ‘It would be fine, except that her pony tail keeps flicking in my face, and there's nowhere else for me to move.’
      • ‘And then, as if nothing had happened, the stone cat turned and ambled away, its shoulders rolling arrogantly, its tail still flicking.’
      • ‘He shook his small head in annoyance, his little bit of a mane moving slightly in the breeze, and his short, fluffy tail flicking at some flies.’
      • ‘Chris gasped as he saw the back of the animal, for it was not that of a bird but of a lion, a long golden tail flicking warily behind it and massive paws growing closer every second.’
      • ‘With most people, I noticed as their eyes flicked upwards to my forehead, and then flicked away rapidly.’
      • ‘His attention flicked to Alexandra, started to move away, and then was drawn back in surprise.’
      • ‘When Tyger sees my tail, the first new appendage I have learned to move, flicking in the air, he raises his eyebrows.’
      • ‘Woods needed to be in the middle of the ring, constantly on the move with his jab flicking out almost subconsciously.’
      • ‘Their ears were pointed and long, flicking back and forth as they moved.’
      • ‘She herself was currently small, furry wolf-like ears perched atop her head, a canine tail flicking behind her as she waded through the crowd of larger beasts.’
      • ‘Caspian's eyes flicked towards him once, then moved away, like he wasn't even there.’
      • ‘If the labyrinth is working normally, the eyes will flick rapidly from side to side.’
      • ‘He held his hand out to help her up, Hikari took it, her clouded leopard tail flicking lightly to and fro in an agitated manner.’
      • ‘For non-horse people this is a long, thin whip with a tassel on the end which is meant to be flicked at the horse just behind the leg.’
      • ‘While everyone's attention was on Kyli, Joy came up behind Cat and noticed her tail flicking back and forth.’
      • ‘Her eyes flicked to a shutter that moved under the wind's force.’
      • ‘Now they had grouped together against the steep slopes of a lava ridge, tails flicking, necks craning, heads turning.’
      • ‘Then she leapt, her tail flicking as she dove for the butterfly.’
      • ‘He set off across the cavern, his tail flicking back and forth angrily.’
      • ‘Her mind flicked, her arms moved in a fluid motion, produced a hidden knife, and tossed without thinking.’
      swish, twitch, wave, wag, waggle, shake, whip, twirl, swing, brandish
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2flick something on/off Turn something electrical on or off by means of a switch.
      ‘he flicked on the air conditioning’
      • ‘I flicked on a switch in my bracelet, which doubled as a recording device.’
      • ‘Her knees bent slightly so she could see herself in the mirror and her leg tripped a switch that flicked on the lights.’
      • ‘Car lights could be flicked on and off, but not kept on.’
      • ‘The wall was soundproof, unless the switch on the wall behind her was flicked on.’
      • ‘Crossing his fingers, he flicked the switch back.’
      • ‘Finally, my fingers flicked the knob and light flooded the room.’
      • ‘Nathan and Michelle jerked apart suddenly when the bright light was flicked on.’
      • ‘When I saw him leaning against the goalpost, I flicked on a switch and started the sprinklers.’
      • ‘Sky walked into the bathroom and flicked on the light switch.’
      • ‘He leapt at it, a lunge ending with a quick snap of his fingers, flicking the switch off.’
      • ‘He flicked on the switch, and sparks promptly flew through the air.’
      • ‘When the projector was flicked on, the result was sublime: the cone shot out as far as anyone could see, and its vanishing point was invisible.’
      • ‘A torch was flicked on and Tam winced in the light, screwing up his eyes.’
      • ‘She gritted her teeth, opened her eyes and was welcomed by a grinning new day as she flicked on the lamp switch to survey the damage.’
      • ‘He was blinded momentarily as a desk lamp was flicked on and the curtains were closed.’
      • ‘Karinka slowly exited the room and flicked on the switch to her computers.’
      • ‘I went into the kitchen and flicked on the light switch, squinting as my eyes adjusted to the light.’
      • ‘They reached the attic floor and Rocky flicked on the switch that activated the ball return mechanism and the pin re-setter.’
      • ‘Once inside, the controls came online as he flicked on a few switches.’
      • ‘Absent-mindedly, I put the earphones in the appropriate orifice, and flicked on the switch.’
    3. 1.3with object Move (a whip) so as to strike.
      move to and fro, move up and down, wag, waggle
      View synonyms

Phrasal Verbs

  • flick through

    • Look quickly through a book, magazine, etc.

      ‘she was flicking through a copy of Vogue’
      • ‘She was flicking through a magazine. ‘Look at that,’ she said, tapping the page with a well manicured finger.’
      • ‘A flick through the reference manual quickly reveals that Hewlett's remarks have solid foundations.’
      • ‘His quest began in 1979 when he was flicking through a book of British hit singles and realised he already had many of the tracks listed.’
      • ‘It's a measure of the current embattled men's magazine market that flicking through a pile of them in a public bar feels dirty and faintly illegal.’
      • ‘Do that, and we may start flicking through the address book on your mobile phone.’
      • ‘I didn't buy it, though I did flick through a few pages.’
      • ‘I tried to ignore the mayhem and flicked through Chris's book.’
      • ‘As D' Alancaisez flicks through his book of ideas I hope he may one day be inspired to use his undoubted skill to experiment in other genres of photography.’
      • ‘When a book is released I flick through a few magazines and if I find something, buy the magazine, cut out the review, and add it to my scrap books.’
      • ‘The guy on the end of the phone line is flicking through the club history book, looking for nuggets of information with which to woo.’
      • ‘‘It hardly has the romance of Romeo and Juliet, I know,’ says Michelle, laughing as she flicks through Brides magazine.’
      • ‘I know because I flicked through the book once whilst in Borders in Brighton, so therefore I am an authority.’
      • ‘They're happy in their Studio City home in LA, and have already started flicking through baby name books.’
      • ‘And House of Leaves is a massively fun book to flick through, no question.’
      • ‘After Lee flicked through magazines to find a style she liked, Aline conferred with tutor Jayne Laverick to make sure she knew how to tackle the cut.’
      • ‘I sit on the living-room carpet flicking through Bondini's books.’
      • ‘Over several cups of tea, Watson flicks through a lavish coffee-table book - The Vienna Album, which accompanied his recent exhibition in Austria.’
      • ‘Historians flicking through the record books will conclude, accurately as it turns out, that he mustn't have been playing.’
      • ‘Such an age is usually just beyond recall, except by those flicking through the Bumper Book Of Rosy Old Clichés.’
      • ‘Probably just a researcher flicking through an occult book.’
      thumb, thumb through, leaf through, flip through, run through, skim through, scan, look through, riffle through, browse through, dip into, glance at, glance through, peruse, read quickly, have a quick look at, run one's eye over, give something a once-over, give something the once-over
      View synonyms


Late Middle English: symbolic, fl- frequently beginning words denoting sudden movement.