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This expression is from Beyonce's "Get me bodied" song:

Mission five
Skip to the front of the line
Let me fix my hair up 'fore I go inside (hey)
Mission six
Gotta check these chicks
'cause you know they gone block
When I take these flicks (hey)
Mission seven
Gotta make my rounds
Given eyes to the guys now I think I found him (hey)

Online dictionary gave me a couple of meanings to the word "flick", the most usual is that quick motion we make with the thumb and the middle/index finger followed by the "a fast gesture" definition.

One of the definitions was also "to glance quickly at someone" but all the examples presented for this meaning had another words to make it clear that this is the meaning, for example:

"she flicked a stare at him"

With the word "stare" imposing that meaning. In the song, while the general context may hint to this meaning, the specific line doesn't so I'm wondering what exactly was Beyonce trying to say there.

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  • She flicked a stare at him is poor quality English. It's unlikely to come from a competent native speaker, because (metaphoric, here) to flick implies brief, short-lived, whereas to stare implies holding ones gaze on something / someone for a long time. Mar 8, 2023 at 13:08

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It means take a picture.

This phrase does not seem to be very common - I hadn't heard it before - and from the context it's not immediately apparent what's meant. However, the music video for this song does make the meaning a little more obvious.

Beyoncé has entered a club, looking very glamorous and attracting a lot of attention. A photographer appears in front of her and, as she sings this line, takes a photograph.

You can hear more examples in some other songs where the meaning is a little more obvious. In the rap song "Take a Flick", Messy Marv says these words over the sound of a camera shutter. Rapper Baby Keem also has a track called "Take a Flick" which includes lyrics like, "I see you starin' - take a flick/ Drop-top McLaren [a fancy car] - take a flick/ wonderin' what I'm wearin' - take a flick", which suggest a meaning like, "If you're so interested in staring at me, because of my cool car and clothes, why not just take a picture instead?"

I found this phrase surprising, because, in my dialect (West Coast American English) flick does not mean photograph, but it can mean movie, as in, "Did you see the new Schwarzenegger flick?" Note the intentionally dated reference (Schwarzenegger); this informal use of flick seems a little dated to me. Dated or not, this meaning is common enough that it even appears in dictionaries, for example:

flick noun(2)

informal
:movie

Merriam-Webster

On the other hand, there is the popular (once popular?) photo-sharing website Flickr, which was launched nearly twenty years ago. So I suppose this association of flick with photographs isn't entirely new to me.

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    In connection with cinema, 'flick' can be a little dated - 'going to the flicks' meant, informally, 'going to the cinema' in the 1950s in the UK. Modern meanings are possible - a 'chick flick' is a genre of film intended to appeal to women (including 'rom-coms'). A 'dick flick' can be a genre intended to appeal to unreflective young men ('dicks') with lots of action, killings, car chases, explosions, etc, or a gay porn movie. Feb 9, 2023 at 19:00
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    What @MichaelHarvey said. Personally, I think the cited usage here is a "misuse" caused by the lyrics writer erroneously conflating picture = movie and picture = snapshot. It's only there for the rhyme anyway - but as Michael says chick flick is a well-known collocation in BrE, so that might well have had an influence. Mar 8, 2023 at 12:22
  • @FumbleFingers - I have mainly seen 'chick flick' in sources like the (US) Hollywood Reporter, but I checked just now and the UK Grazia women's magazine uses it. Mar 8, 2023 at 12:39
  • The second citation in the full OED for flicks = movies is dated 1927: We all know the word movies, but still use pictures or cinema in preference to the American term... Mr. Titley adds the slang flicks or flickers, unknown to me. That very strongly implies this use of flick[s] was originally BrE. It probably only really gained some traction in AmE many decades later because they like the "reduplication" of chick flick. Mar 8, 2023 at 13:03

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