Is there any single word in English for flashbacks within flashbacks?

  • 4
    Perhaps meta-flashback. – Brett Reynolds Mar 11 '12 at 11:31
  • 4
    If you were talking about dreams within dreams, I'd say, "Inception." – J.R. Mar 11 '12 at 11:36
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    @J.R.,Not really,perhaps Inception was a good movie. – Vijin Paulraj Mar 11 '12 at 11:42
  • @VijinPaulraj: Yes, not really. I guess I should have added the ;^) emoticon. – J.R. Mar 11 '12 at 11:51
  • seems inceptionmania to all? – Vijin Paulraj Mar 13 '12 at 17:10

I've heard the term "nested flashback" before (as in "nested stories"). A non-authoritative example:


That's not a single word, though...

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I'm joining Brett's comment. Metaflashback.

(Don't think there would be an hyphen.)

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  • Is metaflashback a new word? – Vijin Paulraj Mar 11 '12 at 14:57
  • 1
    @Vijin: Yes, and only certain technically-minded readers would understand it. – GEdgar Mar 11 '12 at 19:07

According to tvtropes.org, a flashback within a flashback is called an "Inception Flashback."


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  • Welcome to ELU.SE, Tom. Very nice first answer. Take the tour or have a look at the help center to find out more about ELU.SE when you stick around :) – Helmar Oct 9 '16 at 10:28

In computer programming that would be called

Recursive flashback.


Recursion of flashbacks.

Or more descriptively, having a flashback within a flashback within a flashback would be

Third level of flashback recursion.

Perhaps, in a less technical situation, the lyrics of the song "The windmills your mind" could offer some guidance.

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  • like recursive fn? – Vijin Paulraj Mar 11 '12 at 18:53
  • Not quite, because in programming a recursive function is specifically a function that calls itself - so it would only be a recursive flashback if it was a flashback about itself. – Benubird Mar 14 '12 at 0:31
  • A recursive dream - the dream is the function. But at every level of recursion the function or the dream need not be dreaming of the same. – Blessed Geek Mar 14 '12 at 4:09

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