Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

flash

play
verb \ˈflash\

Simple Definition of flash

  • : to shine or give off bright light suddenly or in repeated bursts

  • : to appear quickly or suddenly

  • : to move or pass very quickly

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of flash

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  rush, dash —used of flowing water

  3. 2 :  to break forth in or like a sudden flame or flare

  4. 3 a :  to appear suddenly <an idea flashes into her mind> b :  to move with great speed <the days flash by>

  5. 4 a :  to break forth or out so as to make a sudden display b :  to act or speak vehemently and suddenly especially in anger

  6. 5 a :  to give off light suddenly or in transient bursts b :  to glow or gleam especially with animation or passion <her eyes flashed with anger>

  7. 6 :  to change suddenly or violently into vapor

  8. 7 :  to expose one's breasts or genitals usually suddenly and briefly in public

  9. 8 :  to have sudden insight —often used with on

  10. transitive verb
  11. 1 a archaic :  splash b :  to fill by a sudden inflow of water

  12. 2 a :  to cause the sudden appearance of (light) b :  to cause to burst violently into flame c (1) :  to cause (light) to reflect (2) :  to cause (as a mirror) to reflect light (3) :  to cause (a lamp) to flash d :  to convey by means of flashes of light

  13. 3 a :  to make known or cause to appear with great speed <flash a message on the screen> b :  to display obtrusively and ostentatiously <always flashing a roll of bills> c :  to expose to view usually suddenly and briefly <flashed a badge>

  14. 4 :  to cover with or form into a thin layer: as a :  to protect against rain by covering with sheet metal or a substitute b :  to coat (as glass) with a thin layer (as of metal or a differently colored glass)

  15. 5 :  to subject (an exposed photographic negative or positive) to a supplementary uniform exposure to light before development in order to modify detail or tone

  16. 6 :  to expose one's breasts or genitals usually suddenly and briefly to <flashed the audience>

Examples of flash in a sentence

  1. Thunder rumbled and lightning flashed.

  2. Cameras flashed as the celebrities passed.

  3. A car was sitting on the side of the road with its lights flashing.

  4. A message flashed on the screen.

  5. The screen flashed a message in black letters.

  6. Her eyes flashed with anger.



Origin and Etymology of flash

Middle English flaschen, of imitative origin


First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of flash

flash, gleam, glint, sparkle, glitter, glisten, glimmer, shimmer mean to send forth light. flash implies a sudden outburst of bright light <lightning flashed>. gleam suggests a steady light seen through an obscuring medium or against a dark background <lights gleamed in the valley>. glint implies a cold glancing light <glinting steel>. sparkle suggests innumerable moving points of bright light <the sparkling waters>. glitter connotes a brilliant sparkling or gleaming <glittering diamonds>. glisten applies to the soft sparkle from a wet or oily surface <glistening wet sidewalk>. glimmer suggests a faint or wavering gleam <a distant glimmering light>. shimmer means shining with a wavering light <a shimmering satin dress>.

2

flash

noun

Simple Definition of flash

  • : a sudden bright light

  • : a sudden appearance or occurrence of something

  • : a fancy or exciting quality or appearance that is meant to attract attention to something that is usually not very good or interesting

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of flash

  1. 1 a :  a sudden burst of light b :  a movement of a flag in signaling

  2. 2 :  a sudden and often brilliant burst <a flash of wit>

  3. 3 :  a brief time

  4. 4 a :  show, display; especially :  a vulgar ostentatious display b archaic :  a showy ostentatious person c :  one that attracts notice; especially :  an outstanding athlete d :  pizzazz

  5. 5 obsolete :  thieves' slang

  6. 6 :  something flashed: as a :  glimpse, look b :  smile c :  a first brief news report d :  flashlight 2 e :  a quick-spreading flame or momentary intense outburst of radiant heat f (1) :  flashlight 1 (2) :  a device for producing a flashlight for taking photographs

  7. 7 :  rush 7a

  8. 8 :  the rapid conversion of a liquid into vapor

Examples of flash in a sentence

  1. A brilliant flash lit up the sky.

  2. The idea for the movie came to her in a flash of inspiration.

  3. They relied on gimmicks and flash to get people's attention.

  4. a show with a lot of flash but little substance



1549

First Known Use of flash

1549


3

flash

adjective

Simple Definition of flash

  • : beginning suddenly and lasting only a short time

  • : very talented

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of flash

  1. 1 a :  flashy, showy b :  of, relating to, or characteristic of flashy people or things <flash behavior> c :  of, relating to, or characteristic of persons considered social outcasts <flash language>

  2. 2 :  of sudden origin and short duration <a flash fire>

  3. 3 :  having or using a solid-state data storage technology that retains data even without a connection to a power source <flash memory>

Examples of flash in a sentence

  1. <flash floods in the local area>



Circa 1700

First Known Use of flash

circa 1700

Other Computer-Related Terms


4

flash

adverb

Definition of flash

  1. :  by very brief exposure to an intense altering agent (as heat or cold) <flash fry> <flash freeze>



1970

First Known Use of flash

1970



FLASH Defined for Kids

1

flash

play
verb \ˈflash\

Definition of flash for Students

flashed

flashing

  1. 1 :  to shine or give off bright light suddenly <Lightning flashed in the sky.>

  2. 2 :  to appear quickly or suddenly <A message flashed on the screen.>

  3. 3 :  to come or pass very suddenly <A car flashed by.>

  4. 4 :  to show briefly <The officer flashed his badge.>




2

flash

play
noun

Definition of flash for Students

  1. 1 :  a sudden burst of or as if of light <a flash of lightning> <a flash of brilliance>

  2. 2 :  a very short time <I'll be back in a flash.>




3

flash

play
adjective

Definition of flash for Students

  1. :  beginning suddenly and lasting only a short time <flash floods>




Medical Dictionary

flash

play
noun \ˈflash\

Medical Definition of flash

  1. :  rush 2—compare hot flash





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up flash? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to proceed clumsily or ineffectually

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

lavender-fields-in-france

Which of these is a synonym of caesura?

rebellion interruption torrent megillah
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ