flash

verb
\ ˈflash How to pronounce flash (audio) \
flashed; flashing; flashes

Definition of flash

 (Entry 1 of 4)

intransitive verb

1 : rush, dash used of flowing water
2 : to break forth in or like a sudden flame or flare
3a : to appear suddenly an idea flashes into her mind
b : to move with great speed the days flash by
4a : to break forth or out so as to make a sudden display
b : to act or speak vehemently and suddenly especially in anger
5a : to give off light suddenly or in transient bursts
b : to glow or gleam especially with animation or passion her eyes flashed with anger
6 : to change suddenly or violently into vapor
7 : to expose one's breasts or genitals usually suddenly and briefly in public
8 : to have sudden insight often used with on

transitive verb

1a archaic : splash
b : to fill by a sudden inflow of water
2a : to cause the sudden appearance of (light)
b : to cause to burst violently into flame
c(1) : to cause (light) to reflect
(2) : to cause (something) to reflect light flash a mirror
(3) : to cause (a lamp) to flash
d : to convey by means of flashes of light
3a : to make known or cause to appear with great speed flash a message on the screen
b : to display obtrusively and ostentatiously always flashing a roll of bills
c : to expose to view usually suddenly and briefly flashed a badge
4 : to cover with or form into a thin layer: such as
a : to protect against rain by covering with sheet metal or a substitute
b : to coat (glass) with a thin layer (as of metal or a differently colored glass)
5 : to subject (an exposed photographic negative or positive) to a supplementary uniform exposure to light before development in order to modify detail or tone
6 : to expose one's breasts or genitals usually suddenly and briefly to flashed the audience

flash

noun

Definition of flash (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : a sudden burst of light
b : a movement of a flag in signaling
2 : a sudden and often brilliant burst a flash of wit
3 : a brief time
4a : show, display especially : a vulgar ostentatious display
b archaic : a showy ostentatious person
c : one that attracts notice especially : an outstanding athlete
d : pizzazz
5 obsolete : thieves' slang
6 : something flashed: such as
a : glimpse, look
b : smile
c : a first brief news report
e : a quick-spreading flame or momentary intense outburst of radiant heat
(2) : a device for producing a flashlight for taking photographs
8 : the rapid conversion of a liquid into vapor

flash

adjective

Definition of flash (Entry 3 of 4)

1a : flashy, showy
b : of, relating to, or characteristic of flashy people or things flash behavior
c : of, relating to, or characteristic of persons considered social outcasts flash language
2 : of sudden origin and short duration a flash fire
3 : having or using a solid-state data storage technology that retains data even without a connection to a power source flash memory

flash

adverb

Definition of flash (Entry 4 of 4)

: by very brief exposure to an intense altering agent (such as heat or cold) flash fry flash freeze

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Choose the Right Synonym for flash

Verb

flash, gleam, glint, sparkle, glitter, glisten, glimmer, shimmer mean to send forth light. flash implies a sudden outburst of bright light. lightning flashed gleam suggests a steady light seen through an obscuring medium or against a dark background. lights gleamed in the valley glint implies a cold glancing light. glinting steel sparkle suggests innumerable moving points of bright light. the sparkling waters glitter connotes a brilliant sparkling or gleaming. glittering diamonds glisten applies to the soft sparkle from a wet or oily surface. glistening wet sidewalk glimmer suggests a faint or wavering gleam. a distant glimmering light shimmer means shining with a wavering light. a shimmering satin dress

Did You Know?

The origin of the word flash is uncertain, although it rhymes with a number of other verbs that also mean forceful, often violent movement that may come to a quick end: dash, lash, crash, slash, clash, gash, bash, splash, smash. These words turn up in English over a fairly long period of time, from dash— the only word in the group with a likely foreign source—in the 14th century, to smash in the 18th century. The element -ash has thus provided a kind of model for new words. The initial fl – that is added to -ash to make flash is also heard in words meaning quick movement, as flee, fly, flicker, and flutter.

Examples of flash in a Sentence

Verb

Thunder rumbled and lightning flashed. Cameras flashed as the celebrities passed. A car was sitting on the side of the road with its lights flashing. A message flashed on the screen. The screen flashed a message in black letters. Her eyes flashed with anger.

Noun

A brilliant flash lit up the sky. The idea for the movie came to her in a flash of inspiration. They relied on gimmicks and flash to get people's attention. a show with a lot of flash but little substance

Adjective

flash floods in the local area
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Granted, the skipper has flashed a couple of postgame scowls here and there. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Newman: Credit Bud Black’s steely demeanor for keeping Rockies on track amid roller-coaster first half," 3 July 2019 Howard flashed ridiculous closing burst at Appalachian State, while Gant’s highlights from Marshall are full of teeth-loosening hits. Jim Mcbride, BostonGlobe.com, "Patriots are loaded in the secondary, but who will make the cut?," 2 July 2019 The rook from Belmont flashed his long-distance shooting stroke, canning an off-the-dribble 30-footer in the third quarter. Chris Fedor, cleveland.com, "Dylan Windler’s promising debut not enough, Cleveland Cavaliers lose Salt Lake City Summer League opener, 97-89," 2 July 2019 As the fastest player around the bases, Madonna flashes her skills to the max. Duane Byrge, The Hollywood Reporter, "'A League of Their Own': THR's 1992 Review," 1 July 2019 Castillo flashed his potential at the end of last year, his first full season in the big leagues. Bobby Nightengale, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati Reds pitcher Luis Castillo selected to play in his first MLB All-Star Game," 30 June 2019 The North has flashed its frustrations in recent months, test-firing weapons and lobbing insults at U.S. senior officials and policies in state media. Andrew Jeong, WSJ, "Trump Steps Into North Korea as Two Sides Agree to Restart Nuclear Talks," 30 June 2019 The cameras will flash until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, according to the city. Jen Fifield, azcentral, "Speed cameras will be gone from the West Valley as of Monday, July 1," 30 June 2019 Marina Hegering's header with Lindahl stranded in the dying minutes flashed wide to the relief of the underdogs. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Sweden stuns Germany at Women's World Cup as Dutch reach maiden semifinal," 29 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

From left, a flash of feline pattern from Saint Laurent; shimmering leather trousers at Givenchy; lustrous blazers at Versace and 1017 Alyx 9SM; a showy pop of snakeskin print from Celine. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "The Men’s Trends You Might Actually Want to Wear in 2020," 28 June 2019 These radio bursts are only millisecond-long radio flashes, and such rapid bursts themselves aren't rare in space. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "A mysterious fast radio burst was traced to a galaxy 3.6 billion light-years away," 27 June 2019 The enhancement, white balance, flash, lav, HDR, all that stuff is important. CBS News, "Teens talk bullying and the pressures of Instagram: "If it gets under 200 likes, I just delete it"," 26 June 2019 News flash: The Giants aren’t going to the playoffs this year, even if Sandoval hits 30 more homers. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Giants’ Pablo Sandoval may be hitting his way out of San Francisco," 26 June 2019 Perched on the edge of the Mojave Desert, about two hours north of Los Angeles, the 2.5-mile circuit offers curves that flash by, demanding little heavy braking and welcoming throttle. Eric Adams, WIRED, "Lamborghini’s Huracán EVO Sees the Future—And Makes You Look Great," 15 June 2019 This Note 10 render shows a vertical camera strip on the left side of the phone, with three holes next to it for sensors, the LED flash, and a time-of-flight camera for 3D sensing. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Get an early look at the very rectangular Samsung Galaxy Note 10," 7 June 2019 That’s right, let’s get rid of the a loyal, devoted player who actually wants to be in Orlando for a flash-in-the-pan free agent du jour. ... Orlando City’s stadium naming rights deal is already paying huge dividends in brand awareness for Exploria. Mike Bianchi, orlandosentinel.com, "ESPN reporter on UCF’s Shaquem, Shaquill Griffin: ‘You want to write stories that make people feel good’ | Commentary," 7 June 2019 News flash: Larry Fitzgerald will play two to three more NFL seasons and then retire at age 38. Bob Mcmanaman, azcentral, "Could Kyler Murray, new Cardinals' offense entice Larry Fitzgerald to play more?," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

If the winds stay to the east, there could be flash snowfalls in the mountains. Miguel Almaguer, NBC News, "Record-breaking cold? PyeongChang braces for frigid weather ahead of Olympics," 5 Feb. 2018 Downpours were dumping a quick inch or two of rain on parts of the Baltimore region, including Ellicott City, on Tuesday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue flash flood warnings. Scott Dance, baltimoresun.com, "Howard County, Baltimore under flash flood warnings," 15 Aug. 2017 Flash flood criteria will be easily met in any location where additional rain falls. Greg Porter, Washington Post, "PM Update: Torrential rain continues on and off through the night, showers taper off on Saturday," 28 July 2017 Flash organizations may even promote upward mobility — if, say, the person brought in to crank out one-line poems can ascend to a supervisory position. Noam Scheiber, New York Times, "The Pop-Up Employer: Build a Team, Do the Job, Say Goodbye," 12 July 2017 Flash memory is used in solid-state drives that have replaced many hard drives, and in smartphones and tablets. David Staats And Kristin Rodine, idahostatesman, "New CEO ‘uniquely qualified’ to lead Micron, co-founded and led successful competitor," 27 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flash.' 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 flash

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

1549, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

circa 1700, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

1970, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for flash

Verb

Middle English flaschen, of imitative origin

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Learn More about flash

Dictionary Entries near flash

flaring

flary

flaser

flash

flashback

flash back

flashboard

Statistics for flash

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flash

The first known use of flash was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for flash

flash

verb

English Language Learners Definition of flash

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to shine or give off bright light suddenly or in repeated bursts
: to appear quickly or suddenly
: to move or pass very quickly

flash

noun

English Language Learners Definition of flash (Entry 2 of 3)

: a sudden bright light
: a sudden appearance or occurrence of something
usually disapproving : a fancy or exciting quality or appearance that is meant to attract attention to something that is usually not very good or interesting

flash

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of flash (Entry 3 of 3)

: beginning suddenly and lasting only a short time
US, informal : very talented

flash

verb
\ ˈflash How to pronounce flash (audio) \
flashed; flashing

Kids Definition of flash

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to shine or give off bright light suddenly Lightning flashed in the sky.
2 : to appear quickly or suddenly A message flashed on the screen.
3 : to come or pass very suddenly A car flashed by.
4 : to show briefly The officer flashed his badge.

flash

noun

Kids Definition of flash (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a sudden burst of or as if of light a flash of lightning a flash of brilliance
2 : a very short time I'll be back in a flash.

flash

adjective

Kids Definition of flash (Entry 3 of 3)

: beginning suddenly and lasting only a short time flash floods

flash

noun
\ ˈflash How to pronounce flash (audio) \

Medical Definition of flash

: rush sense 2 — compare hot flash

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More from Merriam-Webster on flash

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flash

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flash

Spanish Central: Translation of flash

Nglish: Translation of flash for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flash for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about flash

Comments on flash

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