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.’
    • ‘The cop showed him the quarter in his left hand and then with a couple of quick flicks of the wrist, the quarter disappeared.’
    • ‘The USA had gotten used to cheap power available at the flick of a switch.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With a quick flick of her head, her hair re-arranged itself.’
    • ‘A couple more flicks of the switch adjust the flame height and heat output.’
    • ‘There's nothing subtler than a quick flick of the hair when you spot that hot honey from your French class.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Sorceress Queen had entered and with a flick of her wand the bottle had disappeared.’
    • ‘A quick flick of his wrist turned a dial and started a timer.’
    • ‘I saw a flick of brown hair and a thin arm.’
    • ‘So, the resting state of a neuron is negative, and a change in state is signalled by short, sharp flicks towards 0.’
    • ‘The paperboy rode by on a bike, flinging his papers with a quick flick of his wrist and amazing accuracy.’
    • ‘With a quick flick of her arm, she turned Juliette around.’
    • ‘He caught it with a deft flick of the hand and then examined the ring.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Lexi balled up a napkin and bounced it off his forehead with a deft flick of her wrist.’
    • ‘I turned on the ignition switch and gave the twist-grip throttle a quick flick.’
    • ‘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.’
    jerk, snap, flip, stroke, brush, sweep, swipe, whisk, dab, jab, click, touch
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    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 thin smile, Asana hurled Darren backward with a flick of his finger, making the Barbarian fall heavily on the platform.’
      • ‘He picked an unlighted torch off the wall and with a simple flick of his finger, ignited it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A flick of Neecer's finger sent the other Men of Truth to stand by the door, on guard.’
      • ‘Here, as you withdraw your arm from the finger flick you turn to the left to face the man on your left.’
      • ‘Tim continued to chat casually at the girl, who, with a flick of his fingers, had lost her voice.’
      • ‘Another flick of her finger and Dustin felt his ear being pulled toward her.’
      • ‘She has little care for anything and a mere flick of her finger will make the strongest of warriors tremble, wither and die.’
      • ‘I am a force so terrifying that I can kill a ten thousand strong army with just a flick of my finger.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With a smirk, she stretches out her arm and with the flick of a finger, blows the creature back 4 feet.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With a flick of his fingers, Balen sends the orbits spinning.’
      • ‘Sensing that he had built up enough power, Tony unleashed it all with a flick of his 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.’
      • ‘Easily deployed via a flick of the index finger, it's an elegant and satisfying solution to the problem of on-the-go spills.’
      • ‘With a flick of invisible fingers it sent a tiny, blood-red stone skittering across the table to Tamani.’
      • ‘Ah, just learning how to raise the dead and kill thousands of men at the flick of a finger.’
    2. 1.2 A light, sharp, quickly retracted blow, especially with a whip.
      • ‘The man nodded, and when she turned, she heard the flick of the whip as the horse began to hurry away.’
      • ‘They warned off the crocodiles with no more than an irritated flick of their tail.’
      • ‘A final flick brought the whip back, and the archer fell.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There was the flick of a lighter, and I could smell burning incense.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her words were like the lightest flick of a knife to Lupe, counterweighted by the sensation her smile sent through him.’
      • ‘A flick of a lighter and the flame licked at a thin cigar.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Gombo gave Rodgers a light flick on the calves from his snakeskin lash.’
      • ‘Alison jumped up and caught it then gave it a quick flick as she rolled over for a dive back down to the ground.’
      • ‘Bethany reached over and grabbed her nightie that was laid on the bed and in one swift flick whipped Toby with it.’
  • 2informal A motion picture.

    ‘a Hollywood action flick’
    • ‘The only new films on the coasts today are art house flicks.’
    • ‘I looked like the first person to die in one of those stupid teen slasher flicks.’
    • ‘He also appeared in numerous Clint Eastwood flicks, including High Plains Drifter, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, and Every Which Way But Loose.’
    • ‘Film songs from Bollywood flicks could be heard booming loudly out of buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws.’
    • ‘This is a hilarious send-up of corny Hollywood action flicks, cut like a movie trailer.’
    • ‘I had gone to Nell's to see if she wanted to catch a flick.’
    • ‘They are Judi Dench and Maggie Smith and they are debuting their new flick at your film festival.’
    • ‘She made me watch some chick flick called Sweet Home Alabama.’
    • ‘Yep, Hollywood's done it again, but thankfully the resulting flick is a good film in its own right - a rarity amongst remakes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After seeing it, I thought, am I equipped to review a kids' flick?’
    • ‘On its own terms, it makes an okay B-grade horror flick.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They're industrial films, educational classroom flicks and promotional movies made to be seen briefly and then trashed.’
    • ‘Judge Mitchell Hattaway thinks this horror flick is the best film ever made.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I went through all the requisite phases - making gross-out gore films, gothic cemetery-based flicks and even dabbled in animation.’
    • ‘With only a few different takes, this is still a classic film noir private eye flick.’
    • ‘I love horror movies and action flicks, though sometimes my soul and mind yearn for something more, something healthier.’
    • ‘In some ways this film is a whodunit as well as a horror flick.’
    movie, picture, feature, feature film
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    1. 2.1the flicksBritish The movies.
      ‘fancy a night 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).’
      • ‘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.’


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

    ‘Emily flicked some ash off her sleeve’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He flicked it against the striker, and, his fingers shaking as he held it up, it sputtered into flame.’
    • ‘Players use their fingers to flick their players and the miniature ball simultaneously to move around the pitch.’
    • ‘Shaking fingers flicked ashes off the end of a cigarette that had yet to touch his lips.’
    • ‘Rolling his eyes in disbelief, Jamie faced the sky and flicked a bit of ash down below.’
    • ‘Simon picked it up, and with a quick twitch flicked the little drop of sweat off and onto Tebert's itinerary.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Do not flick your cigarette ash in someone's eye.’
    • ‘He flicks her braids out of the way and runs a finger down the back of her neck.’
    • ‘She dipped her fingers in the glass flicking the liquid on Sally's face.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Expecting the watch to fix itself, he flicked it with his finger, yet nothing happened.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Chelsea plays with the tip of a spider plant, flicking it with her fingers.’
    • ‘He calls Thomas Levet ‘Frenchy’ and flicks lit cigarettes at him.’
    • ‘Jordan practically purred, her perfectly manicured finger flicking his nose.’
    • ‘Again Fiona rolled her eyes, so I flicked my index finger at her.’
    click, snap, flip, jerk
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    1. 1.1no object Make a sudden sharp movement.
      ‘the finch's tail flicks up and down’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her mind flicked, her arms moved in a fluid motion, produced a hidden knife, and tossed without thinking.’
      • ‘And then, as if nothing had happened, the stone cat turned and ambled away, its shoulders rolling arrogantly, its tail still flicking.’
      • ‘Now they had grouped together against the steep slopes of a lava ridge, tails flicking, necks craning, heads turning.’
      • ‘While everyone's attention was on Kyli, Joy came up behind Cat and noticed her tail flicking back and forth.’
      • ‘Caspian's eyes flicked towards him once, then moved away, like he wasn't even there.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her eyes flicked to a shutter that moved under the wind's force.’
      • ‘With most people, I noticed as their eyes flicked upwards to my forehead, and then flicked away rapidly.’
      • ‘Then she leapt, her tail flicking as she dove for the butterfly.’
      • ‘If the labyrinth is working normally, the eyes will flick rapidly from side to side.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It would be fine, except that her pony tail keeps flicking in my face, and there's nowhere else for me to move.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He set off across the cavern, his tail flicking back and forth angrily.’
      swish, twitch, wave, wag, waggle, shake, whip, twirl, swing, brandish
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    2. 1.2flick something on/off Turn something electrical on or off by means of a switch.
      ‘he flicked on the air conditioning’
      • ‘Once inside, the controls came online as he flicked on a few switches.’
      • ‘Crossing his fingers, he flicked the switch back.’
      • ‘He was blinded momentarily as a desk lamp was flicked on and the curtains were closed.’
      • ‘He flicked on the switch, and sparks promptly flew through the air.’
      • ‘He leapt at it, a lunge ending with a quick snap of his fingers, flicking the switch off.’
      • ‘I flicked on a switch in my bracelet, which doubled as a recording device.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Absent-mindedly, I put the earphones in the appropriate orifice, and flicked on the switch.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They reached the attic floor and Rocky flicked on the switch that activated the ball return mechanism and the pin re-setter.’
      • ‘Karinka slowly exited the room and flicked on the switch to her computers.’
      • ‘A torch was flicked on and Tam winced in the light, screwing up his eyes.’
      • ‘Nathan and Michelle jerked apart suddenly when the bright light was flicked on.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The wall was soundproof, unless the switch on the wall behind her was flicked on.’
      • ‘I went into the kitchen and flicked on the light switch, squinting as my eyes adjusted to the light.’
      • ‘Finally, my fingers flicked the knob and light flooded the room.’
      • ‘Car lights could be flicked on and off, but not kept on.’
      • ‘Her knees bent slightly so she could see herself in the mirror and her leg tripped a switch that flicked on the lights.’
    3. 1.3with object Move (a whip) so as to strike.
      move to and fro, move up and down, wag, waggle
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Phrasal Verbs

  • flick through

    • Look quickly through a book, magazine, etc.

      ‘she was flicking through a copy of Vogue’
      • ‘Probably just a researcher flicking through an occult book.’
      • ‘‘It hardly has the romance of Romeo and Juliet, I know,’ says Michelle, laughing as she flicks through Brides magazine.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She was flicking through a magazine. ‘Look at that,’ she said, tapping the page with a well manicured finger.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Do that, and we may start flicking through the address book on your mobile phone.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Such an age is usually just beyond recall, except by those flicking through the Bumper Book Of Rosy Old Clichés.’
      • ‘Historians flicking through the record books will conclude, accurately as it turns out, that he mustn't have been playing.’
      • ‘I tried to ignore the mayhem and flicked through Chris's book.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I didn't buy it, though I did flick through a few pages.’
      • ‘Over several cups of tea, Watson flicks through a lavish coffee-table book - The Vienna Album, which accompanied his recent exhibition in Austria.’
      • ‘I sit on the living-room carpet flicking through Bondini's books.’
      • ‘And House of Leaves is a massively fun book to flick through, no question.’
      • ‘They're happy in their Studio City home in LA, and have already started flicking through baby name books.’
      • ‘A flick through the reference manual quickly reveals that Hewlett's remarks have solid foundations.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I know because I flicked through the book once whilst in Borders in Brighton, so therefore I am an authority.’
      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
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Late Middle English: symbolic, fl- frequently beginning words denoting sudden movement.