\ 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

burst, flare-up, flash, flicker, flurry, flutter, outbreak, outburst, spurt

Synonyms: Verb

beat, blaze, burn, flame, glare

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Examples of flare in a Sentence


the sudden flare of the match When the crew saw flares, they knew the other ship was in trouble.


pants that flare at the bottom The bull flared its nostrils.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

According to the website, no weapons of any kind or fireworks or flares are permitted. Laurel Deppen, The Courier-Journal, "Everything you need to know about the 2019 Kentuckiana Pride Festival," 10 June 2019 After sundown, tear gas and flares clouded the streets of Tirana. Fox News, "Albania president cancels elections, citing tense climate," 9 June 2019 For most of the soccer season, the far ends of the Parc des Princes stadium here house the hardest core of Paris Saint-Germain fans, the groups that chant the loudest, smuggle in flares, and spark the most fights. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "France Kicks Off Women’s World Cup With 4-0 Victory Over South Korea," 8 June 2019 After sundown, tear gas and flares clouded the streets of Tirana. Washington Post, "Albania president cancels elections, citing tense climate," 8 June 2019 The flare turns out to be a cosmic force that leaves Jean with immense, virtually limitless power, turning her power mad. Nick Romano, EW.com, "'Dark Phoenix' reviews: At least it's better than X-Men: Apocalypse…?," 5 June 2019 Paul Golz, 95, has a clear memory of being on guard duty in the early morning hours of June 6, 1944 — and realizing the invasion was underway when the skies over the Normandy coast were illuminated by flares. Petra Cahill, NBC News, "Trump greets Queen Elizabeth II and insults London's mayor: The Morning Rundown," 3 June 2019 There are also bigger lower air intakes, slightly different side skirts, and possibly wider fender flares. Daniel Golson, Car and Driver, "The Mercedes-AMG GLB45 Will Be a 415-HP Seven-Seat Crossover," 24 May 2019 Oxidative stress, which can occur during an allergy flare up, can be helped by taking an antioxidant. Steven Macari, Harper's BAZAAR, "The 9 Best Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies," 15 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When homelessness flared again with the crack epidemic in the 1990s, the city and county sued each other over who was at fault. Gale Holland, latimes.com, "Why L.A. County’s homelessness crisis has been decades in the making," 5 June 2019 Tempers flared during Thursday’s NBA Finals opener as Tristan Thompson was called for a flagrant foul two during overtime against the Golden State Warriors. Karen Mizoguchi, PEOPLE.com, "Tristan Thompson Calls NBA Finals Game 1 Incident 'Bulls--t' as He Faces Possible Suspension," 1 June 2018 When violence flares Israel’s image suffers, but not much. The Economist, "Israel must answer for the deaths in Gaza," 17 May 2018 Tempers flare: Youth coach grabbed a bat, charged a parent. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "2 men wanted in April 30 homicide," 9 May 2018 Tempers flared with 4:27 left in the first half after the Heat’s Goran Dragic was fouled by Robert Covington on a fastbreak. Manny Navarro And Barry Jackson, miamiherald, "The Heat did something that hadn't been done in the playoffs in 32 years... it's bad. | Miami Herald," 21 Apr. 2018 When tensions between the newcomers and old-timers flared, the disciples took to toting assault-style rifles. Mary Schmich, chicagotribune.com, "A good book, a clean window, a flower show: 9 things to enjoy right now," 13 Apr. 2018 Tensions, though, flared up in Strasbourg in eastern France, where police fired tear gas to push back protesters trying to enter areas where protests had been banned, notably around European institutions, police said. Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, "France’s Yellow Vests Are Unappeased and Back to Demanding Change," 27 Apr. 2019 Israeli and Hamas officials confirmed that the Erez and Kerem Shalom border crossings were re-opened, in a very restricted fashion, for the first time since violence flared up last Monday. Isabel Debre, The Seattle Times, "Israel, Hamas take first steps toward Gaza cease-fire deal," 31 Mar. 2019

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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Statistics for flare

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flare

The first known use of flare was in 1580

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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
\ 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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More from Merriam-Webster on flare

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flare

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flare

Spanish Central: Translation of 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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