verb (flaps, flapping, flapped)
- 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 criesMore example sentences
- Scientists have discovered that as each bird flaps its wings it creates uplift for the bird immediately following.
- These tiny birds can flap their wings up to 70 times per second.
- 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.
- 1.1 [no object] (Of something loosely fastened) flutter or wave around: lines of washing flapped in the windMore example sentences
- The sheets have been flapping furiously on the washing lines as if heralding the new front approaching from the west.
- 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.
- A thin breeze caught some strands of her short hair and sent some waves flapping in the wind.
- 1.2Move (something) up and down or to and fro: he flapped the envelope in front of my faceMore example sentences
- 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.
- ‘You're not going to school without them,’ said Hysterical Mum Brenda, holding the boots out and flapping them in the air.
- He flapped a clip board at me.
- 2 [no object] British • informal Be agitated or panicky: it’s all right, Mother, don’t flapMore example sentences
- The comment is restrained, yet behind the scenes you know technicians are flapping and executives are panicking.
- 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.
nounBack to top
- 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 flapMore example sentences
- 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.
- The neck is covered by flaps attached to the vest.
- He nodded to Hazel and she left, watching Katrina until the flaps of the tent covered her face.
- 1.1A hinged or sliding section of an aircraft wing used to control lift: flaps are normally moved by the hydraulicsMore example sentences
- Another consideration is to minimize the drag devices: the landing gear, the flaps and the windmilling propeller.
- The aircraft also have composite ailerons, spoilers, flaps, vertical tail skin and horizontal tail skin, but they have aluminum wings.
- Agglomerations of wings and cowling, flaps, rudders and fuselage rise dramatically from narrow steel legs.
- 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 flapsMore example sentences
- Residents have enjoyed watching the young birds progress from falling to the ground after a couple flaps of their wings to confident flyers.
- 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.
- He could feel the wind blowing his bangs backwards and could hear the soft flap of his headband.
- 3 [in singular] • informal A state of agitation; a panic: your Gran was in a flap, worrying she’d put her foot in itMore example sentences
panic, fluster, state of panic/agitationNorth American • informal twitfuss, agitation, commotion, stir, hubbub, excitement, tumult, ado, storm, uproar, flurry; controversy, to-do, palaver, brouhaha, furore
- 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.
- An injured cygnet had a rescue team in a flap as it took five days to catch in Chippenham.
- 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.
- More example sentences
- But now and again, I'd wake up to see 2 little dark shapes with little flappy wings gouging at my legs.
- In particular, the sleeves were just the right width - not too narrow, not too flappy.
- The only minus is that the sleeves are kind of flappy.
Middle English: probably imitative.