You're probably familiar with the verb to "flap," which is what birds do with their wings. But as a noun, a flap is a fuss, an argument, or a gossipy feud.

A big part of the pleasure of reality TV shows is watching how quickly a person can start a flap. A dumb remark, a furtive glance, a missed phone call: any of these things can start the characters bickering. And the flap can go on for an entire season! One way to remember the meaning of the verb to flap is to imagine the sound of many wings flapping. That's the sound a flap might make if you could hear it. The leak from the senator's press agent might have caused a firestorm. Instead it resulted in just a minor flap.

Definitions of flap
  1. verb
    move in a wavy pattern or with a rising and falling motion
    synonyms: roll, undulate, wave
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    flap when the wind is blowing equally on both sides
    type of:
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  2. verb
    move with a thrashing motion
    “The bird flapped its wings”
    synonyms: beat
    move with a flapping motion
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    flap the wings rapidly or fly with flapping movements
    flap the wings wildly or frantically; used of falcons
    cause to strike the air in flight
    type of:
    displace, move
    cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense
  3. verb
    move with a flapping motion
    “The bird's wings were flapping
    synonyms: beat
    move with a thrashing motion
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    flail, thresh
    move like a flail; thresh about
    strike the air in flight
    type of:
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  4. verb
    move noisily
    “flags flapped in the strong wind”
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    type of:
    beat, pound, thump
    move rhythmically
  5. noun
    the motion made by flapping up and down
    synonyms: flapping, flutter, fluttering
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    type of:
    undulation, wave
    (physics) a movement up and down or back and forth
  6. noun
    any broad, thin, and limber covering attached at one edge; hangs loose or projects freely
    “he wrote on the flap of the envelope”
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    an opaque adjustable flap on a lamp fixture; used in photography to cut off light from particular areas
    the loose back flap of a coat that hangs below the waist
    (15th-16th century) a flap for the crotch of men's tight-fitting breeches
    earflap, earlap
    one of two flaps attached to a cap to keep the ears warm
    dag, jag
    a flap along the edge of a garment; used in medieval clothing
    lap, overlap
    a flap that lies over another part
    pocket flap
    a flap that covers the access to a pocket
    fly, fly sheet, rainfly, tent flap, tent-fly
    flap consisting of a piece of canvas that can be drawn back to provide entrance to a tent
    the flap of material under the laces of a shoe or boot
    cuff, turnup
    the lap consisting of a turned-back hem encircling the end of the sleeve or leg
    lap at the front of a coat; continuation of the coat collar
    a small lap on a garment or headdress
    type of:
    an artifact that covers something else (usually to protect or shelter or conceal it)
  7. noun
    a movable piece of tissue partly connected to the body
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    a small pendant fleshy lobe at the back of the soft palate
    soft palate, velum
    a muscular flap that closes off the nasopharynx during swallowing or speaking
    protective fold
    a flap of tissue that protects what it covers
    cusp, leaflet
    a thin triangular flap of a heart valve
    eyelid, lid, palpebra
    either of two folds of skin that can be moved to cover or open the eye
    nictitating membrane, third eyelid
    a protective fold of skin in the eyes of reptiles and birds and some mammals
    type of:
    animal tissue
    the tissue in the bodies of animals
  8. noun
    a movable airfoil that is part of an aircraft wing; used to increase lift or drag
    synonyms: flaps
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    landing flap
    a flap on the underside of the wing that is lowered to slow the plane for landing
    type of:
    aerofoil, airfoil, control surface, surface
    a device that provides reactive force when in motion relative to the surrounding air; can lift or control a plane in flight
  9. noun
    an excited state of agitation
    “there was a terrible flap about the theft”
    synonyms: dither, fuss, pother, tizzy
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    type of:
    a mental state of extreme emotional disturbance
  10. verb
    make a fuss; be agitated
    synonyms: dither, pother
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    type of:
    fret, fuss, niggle
    worry unnecessarily or excessively
  11. verb
    pronounce with a flap, of alveolar sounds
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    type of:
    articulate, enounce, enunciate, pronounce, say, sound out
    speak, pronounce, or utter in a certain way
Word Family

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