\ ˈfler How to pronounce flare (audio) \

Definition of flare

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : 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.
2a : 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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Moriondo’s voice is contoured to the soothing hum of the track, as the skittering beats support the sighs and coos as well as some guitar flare-ups, for a downright hypnotic showcase from the singer-songwriter. Jason Lipshutz, Billboard, 19 Sep. 2022 Some people notice their psoriasis improves in the sunshine; others notice gluten sends them spiraling toward flare-ups. Cassie Shortsleeve, Men's Health, 16 Sep. 2022 One hundred days after the initial CAR-T treatment, the B-cells reappeared, causing the oncologists on the research team to worry that lupus flare-ups would start again. Isabella Cueto, STAT, 16 Sep. 2022 Breathing and relaxation techniques can help people through bad flare-ups; speech therapy can help those with problems finding words. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 12 Sep. 2022 More recently, drought has threatened crops and hit power supplies in key industrial areas, while Covid-19 flare-ups have led authorities to impose sweeping new restrictions on businesses and daily life in cities including Shenzhen and Chengdu. Jason Douglas, WSJ, 9 Sep. 2022 Prakash battled a stress fracture in his shin during the indoor season and minor flare-ups during the summer, but is now healthy. BostonGlobe.com, 2 Sep. 2022 Is there a fire extinguisher for the kitchen area since grease fires and stovetop flare-ups are a common cause of fires? Hartford Courant, 28 Aug. 2022 There are the symptoms, the flare-ups, the medications and therapies and appointments. Isabella Cueto, STAT, 27 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Sun Herald reported the lawsuit said the student has Darier disease, which can cause wart-like blemishes to flare up on skin that is contaminated or irritated. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 20 July 2022 Ebola can sometimes linger in the eyes, central nervous system and bodily fluids of survivors and flare up years later. Reuters, CNN, 23 Aug. 2022 The super wide-leg fair is the highlight of these pants, which flare out at the bottom. Nicol Natale, Peoplemag, 16 Aug. 2022 Humidity in the area is expected to fall while temperatures ramp up Tuesday, creating potential for hot spots to flare. Anastasia Hufham, The Salt Lake Tribune, 28 June 2022 Military conflicts continued to flare up, with the PRC shelling several outlying islands controlled by the ROC on two separate occasions. Jessie Yeung, Nectar Gan And Steven Jiang, CNN, 24 May 2022 Respiratory viruses tend to flare as people congregate indoors, and people hit during the Omicron wave will be many months past their infections. Brianna Abbott, WSJ, 6 May 2022 Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s first trip outside of mainland China in almost 2½ years is likely to be shorter than expected, and may not go ahead at all if Covid-19 outbreaks flare up again, according to people familiar with the preparations. Josh Chin, WSJ, 26 May 2022 Husband and wife frequently flare up at each other, but the trouble is always quickly smoothed over. New York Times, 13 July 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About flare

Dictionary Entries Near flare

flap valve



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Statistics for flare

Last Updated

25 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Flare.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flare. Accessed 5 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for flare


\ 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
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

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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