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[flap] /flæp/

verb (used without object), flapped, flapping.
to swing or sway back and forth loosely, especially with noise:
A loose shutter flapped outside the window.
to move up and down, as wings; flap the wings, or make similar movements.
to strike a blow with something broad and flexible.
Slang. to become excited or confused, especially under stress:
a seasoned diplomat who doesn’t flap easily.
verb (used with object), flapped, flapping.
to move (wings, arms, etc.) up and down.
to cause to swing or sway loosely, especially with noise.
to strike with something broad and flat.
to toss, fold, shut, etc., smartly, roughly, or noisily.
Phonetics. to pronounce (a sound) with articulation resembling that of a flap:
The British often flap their r’s.
something flat and broad that is attached at one side only and hangs loosely or covers an opening:
the flap of an envelope; the flap of a pocket.
either of the two segments of a book jacket folding under the book’s front and back covers.
one leaf of a folding door, shutter, or the like.
a flapping motion.
the noise produced by something that flaps.
a blow given with something broad and flat.

Surgery. a portion of skin or flesh that is partially separated from the body and may subsequently be transposed by grafting.
Aeronautics. a movable surface used for increasing the lift or drag of an airplane.

Building Trades.

verb flaps, flapping, flapped
to move (wings or arms) up and down, esp in or as if in flying, or (of wings or arms) to move in this way
to move or cause to move noisily back and forth or up and down: the curtains flapped in the breeze
(intransitive) (informal) to become agitated or flustered; panic
to deal (a person or thing) a blow with a broad flexible object
(transitive) sometimes foll by down. to toss, fling, slam, etc, abruptly or noisily
(transitive) (phonetics) to pronounce (an (r) sound) by allowing the tongue to give a single light tap against the alveolar ridge or uvula
the action, motion, or noise made by flapping: with one flap of its wings the bird was off
a piece of material, etc, attached at one edge and usually used to cover an opening, as on a tent, envelope, or pocket
a blow dealt with a flat object; slap
a movable surface fixed to the trailing edge of an aircraft wing that increases lift during takeoff and drag during landing
(surgery) a piece of tissue partially connected to the body, either following an amputation or to be used as a graft
(informal) a state of panic, distress, or agitation
(phonetics) an (r) produced by allowing the tongue to give a single light tap against the alveolar ridge or uvula

mid-14c., flappe “a blow, slap,” probably imitative of the sound of striking. Meaning “something that hangs down” is first recorded 1520s. Sense of “motion or noise like a bird’s wing” is 1774; meaning “disturbance, noisy tumult” is 1916, British slang.

early 14c., “dash about, shake;” later “strike, hit;” see flap (n.). Meaning “to swing loosely” is from 1520s. Related: Flapped; flapping.

flap (flāp)
Tissue used in surgical grafting that is only partially detached from its donor site so that it continues to be nourished during transfer to the recipient site.



To become flustered; lose one’s composure: I’ve seen him under hostile pressure before. He doesn’t flap and he doesn’t become a doormat (1920s+)

A symbolic mathematics package for IBM 360.
[“FLAP Programmer’s Manual”, A.H. Morris Jr., TR-2558 (1971) US Naval Weapons Lab].
[Sammet 1969, p. 506].
[Jargon File]

1. To unload a DECtape (so it goes flap, flap, flap). Old-time hackers at MIT tell of the days when the disk was device 0 and microtapes were 1, 2, etc. and attempting to flap device 0 would instead start a motor banging inside a cabinet near the disk.
The term is used, by extension, for unloading any magnetic tape. See also macrotape. Modern cartridge tapes no longer actually flap, but the usage has remained.
The term could well be re-applied to DEC’s TK50 cartridge tape drive, a spectacularly misengineered contraption which makes a loud flapping sound, almost like an old reel-type lawnmower, in one of its many tape-eating failure modes.
2. See flapping router.
[Jargon File]


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  • Flap amputation

    flap amputation n. Amputation in which flaps of muscular and cutaneous tissues are used to cover the end of the bone. Also called flap operation.

  • Flapdoodle

    [flap-dood-l] /ˈflæpˌdud l/ noun, Informal. 1. nonsense; bosh. /ˈflæpˌduːdəl/ noun 1. (slang) foolish talk; nonsense n. 1833, originally “the stuff they feed fools on” [Marryat]; an arbitrary formation. noun Nonsense; foolishness; baloney: He then goes on to utter other flap-doodle for the nourishment of the mind (1833+)

  • Flap-door

    noun 1. Also called falling door. a door hinged at the bottom so as to fall downward and outward. 2. a door placed horizontally or on a shallow incline, as an exterior cellar door.

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