flash back

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flash back

1. verb To momentarily show or describe a past time or occurrence, as in a book, movie, or TV show. I liked that part when the narrator flashed back to all the times she had encountered the strange man before.
2. verb To unexpectedly recall or re-experience something from the past. That particular smell always makes me flash back to my childhood.
3. noun An instance in which someone recalls or re-experiences something from the past. In this usage, the phrase is usually written as one word. That particular smell always makes me have a momentary childhood flashback.
See also: back, flash
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

flash back (to someone or something)

to return briefly to a view of someone or something in the past. (In films, literature, and television.) The story suddenly flashed back to Tom when he was a child. The story flashed back to Tom's childhood.
See also: back, flash
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

flash back

v.
1. To undergo a change of scene to a previous point in time as a narrative device: In this chapter, the main character flashes back to her youth.
2. To remember or reexperience a previous point in time, usually suddenly: Whenever he hears sirens, he flashes back to his service in Vietnam.
See also: back, flash
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

flashback

n. a memory of the past; a portrayal of the past in a story. Suddenly, Fred had a wonderful flashback to his childhood.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
"Wait a minute." He took something out of his pocket that flashed back the sun, and dropped the object at his feet.
My memory flashed back to that first thin little volume on my desk, and I saw before me, as though in the concrete, the row of thin little volumes on my library shelf.
"You think, because I'm a girl, that I don't know anything about horses," she flashed back. "But I've been thrown off and bucked off enough not to be over-confident.
At that word "deception," spoken with such self-contempt, the color flashed back into Hilda's face as suddenly as if she had been struck by a whiplash.
Hannibal recoiled with a flash of snarl and flashed back a second sweeping stroke of his mighty paw.
That scene of two years before flashed back into her recollection as vividly as if it had taken place yesterday.
Her thoughts flashed back to a recent dinner party.
Immediately all the beauty flashed back into the canvas.
The one hand of Bruce Cadogan Cavendish flashed pocketward and flashed back with the quoit balanced ripe for business.
That little wish so naively uttered seemed to him the prettiest bit of childishness; he had never heard anything like it before; and he had wrapped the box up in a great many covers, that he might see Hetty unwrapping it with growing curiosity, till at last her eyes flashed back their new delight into his.
To-night they seemed fixed with unusual firmness in the blue, and flashed back such a ripple of light into her eyes that she found herself thinking that to-night the stars were happy.
She lumbered on through an interminable procession of days; and the fresh gild- ing flashed back at the setting sun, seemed to cry out over the darkening sea the words painted on her stern,
We skirted the black coast; we skirted the sand beaches where the sea speaks in whispers to the land; and the gleam of white sand flashed back past our boat, so swiftly she ran upon the water.
He did not raise his to her often: a quick glance now and then sufficed; but it flashed back, each time more confidently, the undisguised delight he drank from hers.
"God forbid that he should share your ideas, Ivan Fedorovitch!" his wife flashed back. "Or that he should be as gross and churlish as you!"