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flex (1)

verb; zero derivation
To show off an item, particularly in reference to expensive luxury goods such as cars, clothing, or technology.
 
The original meaning of flex, “to bend”, often became associated with someone “flexing” their muscles as a way to show off. Its meaning has since been widened to simply showing off an item, particularly among urban, clothing-related subgroups. One could flex a rare and expensive Nike sneaker, though said sneaker is obviously not being bent. The coining of flex may be related to the rise of an object-related consumer culture where wealth signifies status. Terms like “show off” carry negative connotations, while flex fills a niche that describes displays of wealth positively in the sense of achievement.
Etymology : Formed from verb flex.
Source : “Whereas the fashion world's peacocks are happy to flex in a given season's flashiest, most over-the-top designer pieces, Pask can make the familiar—a trim denim jacket or a subtly plaid suit jacket worn on the shoulders—look entirely unexpected.” (GQ Magazine, What Bruce Pask, the Man Who Makes Bergdorf Goodman a Menswear Temple, Wears to Work, November 14, 2017)
Last modified: 27 November 2017


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