- a device in the narrative of a motion picture, novel, etc., by which an event or scene taking place before the present time in the narrative is inserted into the chronological structure of the work.
- an event or scene so inserted.
- Also called flashback hallucinosis. Psychiatry.
- the spontaneous recurrence of visual hallucinations or other effects of a drug, as LSD, long after the use of the drug has been discontinued.
- recurrent and abnormally vivid recollection of a traumatic experience, as a battle, sometimes accompanied by hallucinations.
- a transition in a novel, film, etc, to an earlier scene or event
verb flash back
- (intr, adverb) to return in a novel, film, etc, to a past event
1903, in reference to fires in engines or furnaces, from flash + back (adj.). Movie plot device sense is from 1916. The hallucinogenic drug sense is attested in psychological literature from 1970, which means probably hippies were using it a few years before.
- An unexpected recurrence of the effects of a hallucinogenic drug long after its original use.
- A recurring, intensely vivid mental image of a past traumatic experience.