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. © 2015 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

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.


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 ?
The smoke of the guns mingled with this mist, and over the whole expanse and through that mist the rays of the morning sun were reflected, flashing back like lightning from the water, from the dew, and from the bayonets of the troops crowded together by the riverbanks and in Borodino.
I like to see the pink and blue and white glancing between the trees, dotting the green fields, and flashing back the sunlight.
And so, from hour to hour, march up along the road ever fresh groups and bands of armed men, their casques and breastplates flashing back the long low lines of morning sunlight, until, as far as eye can reach, the way seems thick with glittering steel and prancing steeds.
In the corner, between the bookcase and the wall, there stood a tall, green safe, the firelight flashing back from the polished brass knobs upon its face.
I'm flashing back, I raise a smile, a vision's with me all the while.
I fell head-first for series one, absorbed by three siblings, flashing back to the earlier lives of their parents.
Flashing back to the days of her chic lifestyle and forward to being forced to shack up with her struggling sister (Sally Hawkins), Allen gives us a character study that is a strong contender for the saddest and most disturbing story he has told.
Based on a novel by Mitsuyo Kakuta, "Rebirth" is a long, complex, highly nuanced meller that plays like an aestheticized, post-feminist "Stella Dallas." Constantly flashing back and forth between past and present, this visually expressive, continually surprising psychological study follows the fortunes of three individuals deeply affected by a serious crime: the woman whose 4-year-old daughter is returned after having been stolen as an infant; the baby-snatcher, who has motivations of her own; and the child herself.
Flashing back, it''s been two months since Ziva quit the NCIS team, and Tony is worried about her.
Flashing back, it's been two months since Ziva quit the NCIS team following the death of Michael Rivkin, and Tony is meant to be searching for his replacement, but he hasn't heard anything from her and is worried.
The opener set the standard by giving viewers a glimpse of her apparently murdering somebody then flashing back to six-months earlier.
SHAPED by his deep distrust of George Bush's invasion of Iraq, singer-songwriter Ritter's new album is a darker place than his Hello Starling set, flashing back and forth between despair and hope.
The level bottom seemed to be dressed like a garden-sunny meadows here and there, groves of pine and oak; the river of the Merced sweeping in majesty throughout the midst of them and flashing back sunbeams."
We're soon flashing back in time, seeing the quartet as 12-year-olds growing up in Indiana.