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[fley-kee] /ˈfleɪ ki/

adjective, flakier, flakiest.
of or like .
lying or cleaving off in or layers.
Slang. eccentric; wacky; dizzy:
a flaky math professor.
adjective flakier, flakiest
like or made of flakes
tending to peel off or break easily into flakes
(US, slang) Also flakey. eccentric; crazy

1570s, from flake + -y (2). Meaning “eccentric, crazy” first recorded 1959, said to be American English baseball slang, but probably from earlier druggie slang flake “cocaine” (1920s). Flake “eccentric person” is a 1968 back-formation from it.

The term ‘flake’ needs explanation. It’s an insider’s word, used throughout baseball, usually as an adjective; someone is considered ‘flaky.’ It does not mean anything so crude as ‘crazy,’ but it’s well beyond ‘screwball’ and far off to the side of ‘eccentric.’ [“New York Times,” April 26, 1964]


Related Terms


(Or “flakey”) Subject to frequent lossage. This use is of course related to the common slang use of the word to describe a person as eccentric, crazy, or just unreliable. A system that is flaky is working, sort of – enough that you are tempted to try to use it – but fails frequently enough that the odds in favour of finishing what you start are low. Commonwealth hackish prefers dodgy.
[Jargon File]


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