\ ˈfler How to pronounce flare (audio) \

Definition of flare

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a fire or blaze of light used especially to signal, illuminate, or attract attention also : a device or composition used to produce such a flare The airport set flares to guide the landing plane at night.
2 : an unsteady glaring light
b : solar flare also : a sudden increase and decrease in the brightness of a star often amounting to a difference of several magnitudes (see magnitude sense 3)
3a : a sudden outburst (as of excitement or anger) a flare of tempers in the courtroom
b : flare-up sense 3 a flare of disease
4a : a spreading outward also : a place or part that spreads
b : an area of skin flush a flare of reddened skin
5 : light resulting from reflection (as between lens surfaces) or an effect of this light (such as a fogged or dense area in a photographic negative)
6a : a short pass in football thrown to a back who is running toward the sideline
b : a weakly hit fly ball in baseball a flare into short right field
7 flares plural : pants that flare toward the bottom


flared; flaring

Definition of flare (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to burn with an unsteady flame
b : to stream in the wind
2a : to shine with a sudden light a match flares in the darkness
b(1) : to become suddenly excited or angry usually used with up
(2) : to break out or intensify usually suddenly or violently often used with up
c : to express strong emotion (such as anger)
3 : to open or spread outward the pants flare at the bottom

transitive verb

1 : to display conspicuously flaring her scarf to attract attention
2 : to cause to flare the breeze flares the candle
3 : to signal with a flare or by flaring
4 : to burn (a jet of waste gas) in the open air

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Synonyms for flare

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of flare in a Sentence

Noun the sudden flare of the match When the crew saw flares, they knew the other ship was in trouble. Verb pants that flare at the bottom The bull flared its nostrils.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Russia, which has close ties with both Armenia and Azerbaijan, had so far succeeded in quelling regular flare-ups of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh. WSJ, "Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict: Why Are They Fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh?," 13 Oct. 2020 The Midwest, in particular, has been hit hard in recent weeks; but there are also flare-ups in the Northeast, where average daily cases are up nearly 40% in the last month. Audrey Mcnamara, CBS News, "Fauci says Trump campaign is "harassing" him with unauthorized ad," 13 Oct. 2020 There’s a phase in which the rate of infection is low and the primary concern is localized flare-ups. Gregory Barber, Wired, "New York Is Trying Targeted Lockdowns. Will It Stop a Second Wave?," 12 Oct. 2020 When the tree is in place and the hole is refilled, the root flare — the place where the trunk widens out into roots — should sit right at the level of the surrounding soil, or a little bit higher. Jim Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "9 timely gardening and lawn tips for fall, whether you’re a pandemic gardening newbie or a seasoned pro," 3 Oct. 2020 Tensions flare, almost like clockwork, between law enforcement and a small number of demonstrators. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, "Inside The Portland Protests, Separating Fact From Fiction," 4 Aug. 2020 They were tied for No. 13 among Alabama recruits of the past two decades, bringing an international flare back to the program. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "Breaking down the new-look Alabama basketball roster," 6 July 2020 Even as virus outbreaks flare, economic data, which lag such daily measures of the pandemic, are signaling a recovery, albeit a fragile one. Washington Post, "Asian shares slide, following Wall St selloff on virus fears," 29 June 2020 The survey data showed a flare, caused by an active supermassive black hole, traced back to the area where the gravitational wave event occurred. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Astronomers may have detected light from colliding black holes for the first time," 25 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb If testing is not widespread, the virus can spread undetected and new clusters can flare up. Arkansas Online, "OPINION | LYNN FOSTER: Your vote counts," 10 Oct. 2020 The Democratic Party’s internal battle over how far left to move has quieted in recent months but is likely to flare up again if Mr. Biden wins the presidency. Tarini Parti And Andrew Restuccia, WSJ, "Pence, Harris Gear Up for V.P. Debate After Trump’s Positive Covid-19 Test," 5 Oct. 2020 Crews remained on scene as of 4 p.m. performing overhaul to ensure no hot spots would flare up. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Fire burns vehicles, structures in City Heights alley," 2 Oct. 2020 The Texas Railroad Commission has come under attack for allowing companies to effectively flare at will over the past decade as shale production boomed and helped make the U.S. Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg.com, "Investment Giants Urge Texas to End Most Natural Gas Flaring," 4 Sep. 2020 Sometimes, rather than having an infection go away, low levels of the virus can stay in a person's body and then flare up again, according to Jolene Bowers a research assistant professor at the Translational Genomics Research Institute. Amanda Morris, The Arizona Republic, "Novel coronavirus is mutating slowly, but large mutations are possible, Arizona researchers find," 17 Sep. 2020 Innovations like SoilSheild technology stands up against not only juice box disasters, but everyday dirt and grime that can potentially cause allergies to flare up. Sarah Baird, House Beautiful, "Youngsters," 14 Sep. 2020 While firefighters keep watch for fire growth, crews on the ground will spend the day continuing to build and strengthen fire lines, as well as dousing hot spots that may flare up. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Firefighters continue progress on Valley fire," 11 Sep. 2020 For some reason my hemorrhoids usually flare on the weekends, for obvious reasons. Meredith Masony, Woman's Day, "Author Meredith Masony Knows Feeding Kids Can Break Any Mom's Bank and Sanity," 9 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flare.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of flare


1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1616, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for flare

Noun and Verb

origin unknown

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Time Traveler for flare

Time Traveler

The first known use of flare was in 1580

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Statistics for flare

Last Updated

18 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flare.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flare. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for flare


How to pronounce flare (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of flare

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a light that shines brightly and briefly
: a very bright light that is used to give a signal, to light up something, or to attract attention also : a device that produces such a light
: a sudden expression of anger



English Language Learners Definition of flare (Entry 2 of 2)

: to shine or burn suddenly and briefly
: to become suddenly excited, angry, or active
: to open or spread outward


\ ˈfler How to pronounce flare (audio) \
flared; flaring

Kids Definition of flare

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to burn with an unsteady flame … they watched the fire … flaring through the fog …— Charles Dickens, The Cricket on the Hearth
2 : to shine or burn suddenly or briefly A match flared in the darkness.
3 : to become angry or active She flared up at the remarks. His asthma has flared up.
4 : to spread outward Her nostrils flared.



Kids Definition of flare (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a sudden blaze of light the flare of a match
2 : a blaze of light used to signal, light up something, or attract attention
3 : a device or material used to produce a flare The emergency kit included flares.
4 : a sudden outburst She displayed a flare of anger.
5 : a spreading outward : a part that spreads outward the flare of a skirt
\ ˈfla(ə)r, ˈfle(ə)r How to pronounce flare (audio) \
flared; flaring

Medical Definition of flare

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to break out or intensify rapidly : become suddenly worse or more painful often used with up your gallstones flare up— W. A. Nolen



Medical Definition of flare (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : flare-up Without effective urate lowering, many such patients progress to severe chronic gout characterized by frequent arthritic flares— John S. Sundy et al., The Journal of the American Medical Association, 17 Aug. 2011
2 : an area of skin flush resulting from and spreading out from a local center of vascular dilation and hyperemia urticarial flare
3 : a cloudy or smoky appearance of the fluid of the anterior chamber of the eye that is seen when a beam of light (as from a slit lamp) is passed through it and that is caused by the presence of floating protein material in the fluid which is a symptom of inflammation Flare means that we can actually see the beam of light from the slit lamp traveling through the aqueous humor. This is similar to being able to see the beam of light coming from a movie projector in a dusty room.— Jay B. Lavine, The Eye Care Sourcebook, 2001

called also aqueous flare

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