\ 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 The nurse noticed red patches on his skin that Hernandez thought were an eczema flare-up, but that can actually be a symptom of COVID-19 in children. Maryam Jameel, ProPublica, 16 July 2021 One flare-up came while Don Deckard, a Marine veteran and longtime Union Pacific employee, testified about his experiences with soldiers suffering from PTSD in the Marine Corps. Dale Ellis, Arkansas Online, 15 July 2021 Over the weeks and months, a relative calm settled in, but there would still be the occasional flare-up between parents and some in the homeless community. Scott Carroll, oregonlive, 15 July 2021 The French decision is the latest flare-up in a global battle that has simmered and sometimes boiled for more than a decade, with disagreements over what, if anything, publishers should be paid when their news is available via tech platforms. Sam Schechner, WSJ, 13 July 2021 After a slow start, the country has ramped up its domestic inoculation rate in recent weeks, with the Delta variant first seen in India contributing to a flare-up in the southern city of Guangzhou. Tripti Lahiri, Quartz, 16 June 2021 The flare-up also has created a test for Israel’s new government, which took office early this week. Josef Federman, chicagotribune.com, 16 June 2021 Shortly before the latest flare-up in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Blinken agreed to talk with Rolling Stone about his rock & roll jones. David Browne, Rolling Stone, 8 June 2021 Taiwan, which had weathered the pandemic virtually unscathed until the recent outbreak, is now facing its most serious flare-up with more than 10,000 new cases since late April. Time, 6 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Those tensions are simmering again — and could flare anew if Israeli ultranationalists follow through on plans to march Thursday through the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City. Josef Federman, ajc, 7 June 2021 Little wonder those tensions tend to flare around religious holidays, both Jewish and Muslim. The Salt Lake Tribune, 13 May 2021 The injury however continues to flare up, and is especially exacerbated by the singer’s constant on-the-go lifestyle and penchant for jumping up-and-down at her shows. Natalie Morin, refinery29.com, 27 Feb. 2021 There's your wallet, your keys, your cell phone, that little bottle of hand lotion, your sunglasses, a pack of tissues for when your allergies flare up ... Jon Winkler, USA TODAY, 4 June 2021 There is no guarantee the issue won’t flare up again. Bernie Pleskoff, Forbes, 10 June 2021 Boston was limited in its roster flexibility with Walker under contract, which became an increasingly tough pill to swallow as he knee issues continued to flare up. Chris Grenham, Forbes, 18 June 2021 Over the past 60 years, American interest in the Troubles has tended to flare up sporadically whenever and wherever events in Northern Ireland could be analogized with matters of more immediate interest to the United States. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, 18 June 2021 Oman never knew when her neuropathy would flare up. Kevyn Burger Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, 24 Feb. 2021

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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Learn More About flare

Dictionary Entries Near flare

flap valve



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Statistics for flare

Last Updated

27 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Flare.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flare. Accessed 28 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for flare



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


intransitive verb
\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on flare

Nglish: Translation of flare for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flare for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about flare


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