1-[transitive] flick something + adv./prep. to hit something lightly with a sudden quick movement, especially using your finger and thumb together, or your hand

She flicked the dust off her collar.

The horse was flicking flies away with its tail.

James flicked a peanut at her.

Please don't flick ash on the carpet!

The striker flicked the ball into the back of the net. She snatched up her briefcase and flicked it open.

2- ​[intransitive, transitive] to move or make something move with sudden quick movements

  • adv./prep. The snake's tongue flicked out.

Her eyes flicked from face to face.

flick something (+ adv./prep.) He lifted his head, flicking his hair off his face.

The horse moved off, flicking its tail.


1- ​[intransitive, transitive] to turn over into a different position with a sudden quick movement; to make something do this

The plane flipped and crashed.

(figurative) She felt her heart flip (= with excitement, etc.).

flip something (+ adj.) He flipped the lid open and looked inside the case.

3 - [transitive] to throw something somewhere with a sudden quick movement, especially using your thumb and/or fingers SYNONYM toss

flip a coin They flipped a coin to decide who would get the ticket.

flip something + adv./prep. He flipped the keys onto the desk.

This Youtube video shows a "hair flick" and this one shows a "hair flip". The 2 actions are almost the same.

what are the differences between the verb: "flick" and "flip"?

  • 2
    As the definitions say, flick often refers to the action of holding a bent finger with your thumb and suddenly releasing it so that it strikes something sharply, and flip often means to turn something over - but they can also often be interchangeable. Commented Feb 11, 2020 at 10:02

1 Answer 1


The words have, as you observed, significant overlap in meaning. Within that similar area of a sudden, quick movement, 'flip' generally refers to a movement which includes a rotational element; flipping an object changes its orientation. A flick does not emphasize this element (though it may still be present). As Kate noted, 'flick' also refers to a specific action of using the thumb and a finger to strike an object.

In addition, 'flip' is sometimes used in a more abstract sense for a reversal, for example of an opinion ("his views on the senator flipped after the debate") or of a trait with two modes or possibilities; the not operator, which converts true to false and vice versa, can be described as "flipping" the bit.

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