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

The senior left-hander, however, eventually flashed the form that makes him an ace candidate for the Vikings next spring. Pat Disabato, Daily Southtown, "Max-imum effort: Max Engstrom settles down after the first inning in pitching St. Laurence past St. Rita," 11 July 2018 The machines beep or buzz and flash a message to inspectors, indicating whether a passenger has legally entered through the fare gate. Michael Cabanatuan, San Francisco Chronicle, "BART cited 1,300 fare evaders in 2 months. Only about 100 paid up," 4 June 2018 Hackers have hit highway signs in the Carolinas multiple times in the past, including an incident in July when three Department of Transportation digital road signs in Charlotte flashed vulgar messages to motorists on Interstate 277, reported WSOC. Mark Price, charlotteobserver, "Hackers use highway signs to insult bicyclists along NC Ironman race route," 29 May 2018 Watch as Stigma and Miret appear in old news footage from the days when kids making loud music was considered newsworthy, and then flash to today when these men live their lives and continue to tour. Trevor Fraser, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Florida Film Festival: 3 things to do April 7," 7 Apr. 2018 Guard Jackson Gibson penetrated and kicked out to Henderson, who flashed out to the baseline, and his shot was nothing but net. James Weber, Cincinnati.com, "Campbell County boys basketball falls on late 3-pointer," 16 Mar. 2018 October 2008 Qantas Flight 72 was en route from Singapore to Perth, Australia at 37,000 when unexpectedly the flight deck was filled with flashing lights and the sound of klaxons. Jeff Wise, Popular Mechanics, "4 Times Before the Boeing 737 Max 8 That Plane Automation Software Went Haywire," 18 Mar. 2019 With flashing eyes that tear up at the drop of a cat and a muscular frame made for monument-worthy poses, this Padraic is a strutting contradiction of attraction and repulsion, daring us to question our conventional notions of the heroic. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Orlando Bloom and Aidan Turner Are Drenched in Blood in London," 4 July 2018 The driver and a passenger picked up the cash and were headed back on Interstate 805 when a silver SUV with flashing red and blue lights came up fast behind them and pulled them over, the complaint says. Kristina Davis, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Illegal Philly boarding house where 4 died owned by former San Diego federal agent," 30 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

It's packed with drama, horror, humor, and lots of little hints that flash by in quick-cut moments. Marci Robin, Allure, "The Stranger Things 3 Trailer Just Dropped, and Eleven Is Wearing Hopper’s Daughter’s Hair Tie," 21 Mar. 2019 Will there be a giant cutout for the whole array, or six individual circles for the cameras and flash? Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Nokia 9 PureView hands-on: All of the cameras and none of the gimmicks," 24 Feb. 2019 In the end, this is an arthouse survival movie, very quiet, not reliant on flash and effects so much as its lead’s incredible will to endure. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Arctic is a pure distillation of the man vs. nature genre," 1 Feb. 2019 But flashes of anxiety were minimal; a five-day window meant more time had to be spent writing our vows than worrying about the particulars. Phoebe Lapine, Marie Claire, "How to Marry a Guy in Five Days," 18 Jan. 2019 The Future of Automobility (concept) Photo: IDEO For all these flashes of humor, a distinct sense of prudishness clings to these projects. Michael J. Lewis, WSJ, "‘The Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility’ Review: Future Imperfect," 10 Jan. 2019 The thin form factor only allows for flash memory, but Intel’s plans for Optane include everything from gaming PCs on down. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel's Optane Memory H10 marries super-fast Optane and SSD storage on one M.2 card," 9 Jan. 2019 On January 27, 1967, operators in Houston heard a brief sharp cry of pain before a loss of signal due to a flash fire that resulted in the death of the three Apollo 1 astronauts. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "Houston, We Have a Resurrection: How Mission Control Came Back from the Brink," 27 Nov. 2018 On Trebbe Drive, a young man was hurt in a flash fire while trying to light a gas grill that was leaking propane, Billings said. Jesse Leavenworth, courant.com, "Toddler Burned In Accident, Part Of Busy Night For Manchester Firefighters," 21 June 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

13 Apr 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

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