mid-15c., "light blow or stroke," probably imitative of a light blow with a whip. Earliest recorded use is in phrase not worth a flykke "useless." Meaning "quick turn of the wrist" is from 1897 in sports. As slang for "film," it is first attested 1926, a back-formation from flicker (v.), from their flickering appearance.
1816, "to throw off with a jerk," from flick (n.). Meaning "strike lightly with a quick jerk" is from 1838. Related: Flicked; flicking.
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