1

flash

verb \ ˈflash \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of flash

intransitive verb
1 :rush, dash used of flowing water
2 :to break forth in or like a sudden flame or flare
3 a :to appear suddenly
  • an idea flashes into her mind
b :to move with great speed
  • the days flash by
4 a :to break forth or out so as to make a sudden display
b :to act or speak vehemently and suddenly especially in anger
5 a :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
1 a archaic :splash
b :to fill by a sudden inflow of water
2 a :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
3 a :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

Examples of flash in a Sentence

  1. Thunder rumbled and lightning flashed.

  2. Cameras flashed as the celebrities passed.

  3. A car was sitting on the side of the road with its lights flashing.

  4. A message flashed on the screen.

  5. The screen flashed a message in black letters.

  6. Her eyes flashed with anger.

Recent Examples of flash from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of flash

Middle English flaschen, of imitative origin

Synonym Discussion of flash

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

2

flash

noun

Definition of flash

1 a :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
4 a :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
b :smile
c :a first brief news report
d :flashlight 2
e :a quick-spreading flame or momentary intense outburst of radiant heat
f (1) :flashlight 1
(2) :a device for producing a flashlight for taking photographs
7 :rush 7a
8 :the rapid conversion of a liquid into vapor

Examples of flash in a Sentence

  1. A brilliant flash lit up the sky.

  2. The idea for the movie came to her in a flash of inspiration.

  3. They relied on gimmicks and flash to get people's attention.

  4. a show with a lot of flash but little substance

Recent Examples of flash from the Web

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.

First Known Use of flash

1549


3

flash

adjective

Definition of flash

1 a :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

Examples of flash in a Sentence

  1. flash floods in the local area

Recent Examples of flash from the Web

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.

First Known Use of flash

circa 1700

Other Computer-Related Terms


4

flash

adverb

Definition of flash

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

First Known Use of flash

1970



FLASH Defined for English Language Learners

flash

verb

Definition of flash for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of flash for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of flash for English Language Learners

  • : beginning suddenly and lasting only a short time

  • : very talented


FLASH Defined for Kids

1

flash

verb \ ˈflash \

Definition of flash for Students

flashed; flashing
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.

2

flash

noun

Definition of flash for Students

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.

3

flash

adjective

Definition of flash for Students

:beginning suddenly and lasting only a short time
  • flash floods

Medical Dictionary

flash

noun \ ˈflash \

medical Definition of flash

:rush 2 — compare hot flash


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