\ 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

Mowry said firefighters managed to cut the vegetation around the perimeter of the fire Wednesday to keep it from spreading, though flare-ups shortly after midnight threw embers outside the containment line, igniting additional flames. Madeline Mcgee, Anchorage Daily News, "East Anchorage wildfire expected to be out in 2-3 days, fire officials say," 5 July 2019 Geopolitical flare-ups, particularly in the Middle East, have keep oil prices from falling too far, and in the past few weeks have given them a big boost. David Hodari, WSJ, "Oil Prices Caught Between Slower Growth and Mideast Turmoil," 30 June 2019 While kicking off the promotional tour for her upcoming film, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Turner looked stunning in her sleeveless, fit-and-flare Mugler mini dress with contrast stitching. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sophie Turner Wears a Teeny-Tiny Mugler Dress While Promoting X-Men: Dark Phoenix," 26 Apr. 2019 Indeed the fit-and-flare frock was similar to the styles worn by Hollywood starlets of the 1950s. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Angelina Jolie Makes Going Strapless Look Easy and Elegant," 27 Aug. 2018 The fit-and-flare mini boasted a structured corset top and asymmetrical hemline that fell at mid-thigh. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson's VMAs 2018 Red Carpet Was Their First Ever," 20 Aug. 2018 While the Duchess of Cambridge went with an off-white Alexander McQueen fit-and-flare coat, Camilla glowed in a much more fluorescent version, from head-to-kitten heel. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Camilla Parker Bowles Really Went Rogue With Her Trooping the Colour Dress," 9 June 2018 So the pals launched Brass in 2014 with five basic dress styles, from a maxi to a fit-and-flare style. Kara Baskin, BostonGlobe.com, "Corporate wear at entry-level prices," 19 Apr. 2018 Two weeks of flare-ups over the attacks on oil tankers and the downing of a US surveillance drone, administration officials said, have overshadowed a larger, more complex and fast-intensifying showdown over containing Iran’s nuclear program. David E. Sanger, BostonGlobe.com, "Facing intensifying confrontation with Iran, Trump has few appealing options," 22 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Demonstrators who set off flares near the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown late Saturday had their faces covered, and law enforcement officials are trying to determine whether they are linked to an alt-right group, authorities say. Travis Andersen, BostonGlobe.com, "Police investigating whether alt-right group is linked to fireworks incident near Bunker Hill Monument," 9 July 2019 Central bank officials insist that they are prepared to act aggressively if another recession flares. Jeanna Smialek, New York Times, "Global Recession Risks Are Up, and Central Banks Aren’t Ready," 9 July 2019 Yet Warren’s criticism of the industry has at times flared into direct clashes with its most prominent leaders. latimes.com, "Elizabeth Warren is winning grudging respect among some on Wall Street," 5 July 2019 Emotions flare as Portland, long friendly to neighborhood associations, weighs gutting their powers. oregonlive.com, "Witness says bloody attacks in Portland broke out after 1 man came to his aid: Morning Briefing for Wednesday, July 3," 3 July 2019 Aspen Custom Vans solves this problem with the standard three-panel, aluminum frame rear bed and flared sides so that adults can sleep sideways. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Custom camper van is a cozy cabin-on-the-go," 2 July 2019 The party’s broader fight over ideology took a back seat at times to its racial and generational divisions, which also flared when the discussion turned to health care. Steve Peoples, Twin Cities, "Rivals target Biden as Democrats’ rifts emerge on age, race," 28 June 2019 The anxiety has calmed but still flares unpredictably. Chris Kaltenbach, baltimoresun.com, "Taking back control: A year later, Capital Gazette shooting survivors putting their lives, hearts back together," 28 June 2019 Martial arts paintings and anime figurines — like Goku, Ham's favorite character from Dragonball Z — give Ramen House some flare. Savannah Eadens, The Courier-Journal, "Ramen and Mediterranean restaurants are spicing things up at Mid City Mall," 26 June 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

11 Jul 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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