mid-15c., probably imitative of a light blow with a whip. Earliest recorded use is in phrase not worth a flykke "useless." As slang for "film," it is first attested 1926, a back formation from flicker, from their flickering appearance. The verb is first recorded 1838; meaning "quick turn of the wrist" is from 1897, originally in cricket. Related: Flicked; flicking.