flash

verb
\ ˈflash \
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

But as much of the global auto industry descends on Detroit this week for its annual auto show, the good news in the U.S. is being tempered with flashing yellow lights overseas. Mike Colias, WSJ, "U.S. Auto Makers Hit Speed Bumps Abroad," 13 Jan. 2019 The result was a chic, black and white gif with flashing lights in the background. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Posed for a Gif Photo Booth Just Like Any Other Celeb," 11 Dec. 2018 After flashing their lights and sirens in an attempt to pull the car over, the officers deployed a strategy based around their assumption that the Tesla Model 3 was running on Autopilot. Dami Lee, The Verge, "Police may have used Tesla’s Autopilot feature to stop driver asleep at the wheel," 3 Dec. 2018 This three-in-one solar flashlight has a 180-lumen torch beam on the end, a 70-lumen floodlight on the main body, and two flashing red lights that can be used for emergency visibility. Aaron Gulley, Outside Online, "The Best Solar Lights for Road Life," 29 June 2018 People have circled his house in cars, come into his driveway and flashed their lights. Washington Post, "Maryland attack tells journalists to take threats seriously," 29 June 2018 Two police cruisers are located behind it with their lights flashing. Eli Rosenberg, chicagotribune.com, "Police in East Pittsburgh fatally shoot 17-year-old boy fleeing traffic stop," 20 June 2018 In response, Disney sent an advisory to theaters asking them to warn customers about the sequence of flashing lights. Editors, USA TODAY, "Even Trump's family divided by 'zero tolerance' immigration policy," 18 June 2018 The glow of flashing red and blue lights dances around the wall. David Montero, latimes.com, "Carnage, chaos and terror: Police videos of Las Vegas shooting reveal a war zone," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Ariana was the picture of elegance, pulling her hair back into her signature tight ponytail and wearing a light shimmer on her face that perfectly catches the camera’s flash. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande Walked Dog Myron in Pink Lipstick and a Matching Faux Fur Coat," 3 Jan. 2019 Miyako observed her closely and caught something flash in her eye. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Two unlikely cops are paired up to solve murders in a war-torn Tokyo in Ninth Step Station," 8 Dec. 2018 This is how the real target — getting to zero net carbon — comes to the US: not in a blinding flash or a big federal bill (at least not at first), but like a virus, or a meme, catching hold and spreading through contact. David Roberts, Vox, "For the first time, a major US utility has committed to 100% clean energy," 5 Dec. 2018 The region faced yet another emergency Thursday, as heavy rains caused flash flooding in areas burned by the Camp Fire. Erin Ailworth, WSJ, "Authorities End Search Efforts in Paradise, Calif.," 29 Nov. 2018 Life-threatening storm surge flooding, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are still expected. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Don’t Forget About the Victims of Hurricane Florence," 18 Sep. 2018 Given the potential for repetitive rounds of rain over some of the same areas through Wednesday, flash flooding will develop in spots. Laura Dannen Redman, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why So Many U.S. Flights Are Delayed This Week," 24 July 2018 Police used flash-bang grenades and pepper spray to disperse the crowds. Washington Post, "National Digest: Seattle bans drinking straws, the first major U.S. to do so," 2 July 2018 People were lighting firecrackers and smoke bombs in the crowd while police used flash bangs in an effort to disperse the clashing protesters. CBS News, "Right-wing activists Patriot Prayer, antifa clash at Portland protests," 1 July 2018

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

19 Jan 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

: 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

: very talented

flash

verb
\ ˈflash \
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 \

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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