AskDefine | Define flapjack

Dictionary Definition

flapjack n : a flat cake of thin batter fried on both sides on a griddle [syn: pancake, battercake, flannel cake, flannel-cake, flapcake, griddlecake, hotcake, hot cake]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A pancake.
    Sven ordered a stack of flapjacks with maple syrup, two strips of bacon, and an egg, sunny side up.
  2. A bar made of (though not limited to) rolled oats, butter, golden syrup, and brown sugar, and which is baked in a tray.


Extensive Definition

For the seaweed commonly known as flapjack, see Carpophyllum maschalocarpum. For the programming library, see Flapjax. For the Cartoon Network animated series, see The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack.


In the UK, a flapjack is a tray bake (or bar cookie) made from rolled oats, fat (typically butter), brown sugar and usually Golden syrup or honey. As well as being baked at home, they are widely available in shops, ready-packaged, often with extra ingredients such as chocolate, dried fruit, nuts, and toffee pieces or coatings, either as individual servings or full unsliced trayfuls. Flapjacks are usually an alternative to a biscuit (cookie) or cake, and textures range from soft and moist to dry and crisp. Because of the high levels of fat and calories in the original version, some 'diet' versions are available with lower fat and calorie content. In some parts of Northern England, flapjack is often colloquially referred to as 'nutty flip'. Similar products are known in Australia as 'muesli bars'.

North America

In Canada, the United States, and South Africa, flapjack is another term for a thin pancake that is not only crispy, but slightly chewy as well. A largely defining attribute of a flapjack is its large diameter, commonly measuring 12" (30 cm) or more.


The Oxford English Dictionary records the word flapjack as being used as early as the beginning of the 17th century, but at this time it seems to have been some kind of flat tart or pan-cake. Shakespeare refers to flapjack in Pericles, Prince of Tyre, but this is one of the many anachronisms in his historical plays and does not suggest that he thought it was a middle eastern dish, merely a common English dessert of the time:
"Come, thou shant go home, and we'll have flesh for holidays, fish for fasting-days, and moreo'er puddings and flap-jacks, and thou shalt be welcome."
Act II Scene I
Later, flapjack would be used to describe something similar to an apple flan, but it is not until 1935 that the word is first used to describe a mainly oaten food. While in England this usage has mostly superseded earlier recipes, in North America, flapjack is another term for a pancake, made using baking powder which causes the pancake to rise. The word elements: flap- meaning a tossed mixture and jack, an uncertain word suggesting a variety, imply any ingredients could be called a flapjack.

Other usage

A flapjack can be a kind of hydraulic machine, and it is also a reference to a professional wrestling throw.
A flapjack is also a derogatory term for a person from an indistinguishable country of origin.

See also

flapjack in Swedish: Flapjack
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