\ 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 Participants are encouraged to wear costumes that reflect the nautical theme or creative flare. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Oceanside Harbor Days coming this weekend," 16 Sep. 2019 She will be remembered for her kindness, fun loving adventurous spirit, flare for fashion and generosity. courant.com, "Jane Michalak," 8 Sep. 2019 Air crews used flares to light up the search area throughout the night, according to the Coast Guard. Cory Shaffer, cleveland.com, "Coast Guard suspends search for Lake Erie boater missing near Cleveland," 2 Sep. 2019 Yuli Gurriel's fifth-inning flare should have continued the monotony. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros take down Blue Jays in series opener," 30 Aug. 2019 The decision to drive the tank as a form of celebration caused further outrage in the countries surrounding Serbia, with the players seen carrying flares as fireworks were set off. SI.com, "Red Star Belgrade Players Ride Army Tank During Wild Celebrations After Champions League Win," 29 Aug. 2019 But red dwarfs are harsh hosts, emitting frequent flares containing x-rays and ultraviolet radiation that could sterilize a planet, as well as energetic stellar winds that can strip it of its protective atmosphere. Adam Mann, Scientific American, "Scientists Mull the Astrobiological Implications of an Airless Alien Planet," 19 Aug. 2019 American Eagle’s high-rise flares with exposed buttons are the ultimate date-night jean; just add a flirty top and strappy sandals. Vogue, "The Best Back-to-School Jeans for Under $100," 16 Aug. 2019 The amount of methane added to the atmosphere in the past decade also corresponds to studies that show fracking operations leak, vent, or flare between 2 and 6 percent of the gas produced, Howarth said. Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, "Fracking boom tied to methane spike in Earth’s atmosphere," 15 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Police have said about 100 people were at the party, and a fight flared up between at least two people. Domingo Ramirez Jr., star-telegram, "Fort Worth man charged in 2 murders, including NYE party shooting that killed 18-year-old," 4 June 2019 More important, the country would be less on edge, less on the brink, with divisions less likely to flare up into flat-out war. T.a. Frank, The Hive, "The Democratic Case for Not Impeaching Trump," 22 Aug. 2017 Conditions were smoky Friday morning, with the potential that unpredictable weather could again flare up the blaze. CBS News, "Firefighters make some progress on Tenaja Fire, mandatory evacuation orders lifted," 6 Sep. 2019 The first was economic: The European debt crisis was flaring, and the IMF was a central... Josh Zumbrun, WSJ, "Christine Lagarde’s Likely IMF Exit to Launch Fraught Successor Race," 2 July 2019 Fox was also wearing a black and white or blue and white checkered waist-length jacket, maroon flared jeans with a yellow patch on one knee, and brown sandals with a heel strap. Fox News, "New Jersey cold case includes ransom phone call that said 'your daughter's life is the buttered topping'," 25 June 2019 In came Jon Gray, who started Thursday in the first game of a series that would go on to see records break and tempers flare and water bubble from the ground and fall from the sky. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres come back on Rockies again, split crazy series at Coors," 16 June 2019 Joe Musgrove grazed Josh Donaldson with a pitch, tempers flared and both players were ejected. Emma Baccellieri, SI.com, "'What Are You Looking At?': The Question That Started the Pirates-Braves Basebrawl," 10 June 2019 The model sported flared fenders and an enlarged opening at the front, probably for extra cooling. Los Angeles Times, "Porsche, Tesla face off for electric-vehicle crown on famed German race track," 13 Sep. 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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Learn More about flare

Statistics for flare

Last Updated

31 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for flare

The first known use of flare was in 1580

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on flare

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flare

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

Comments on flare

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a calculated move

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