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 When the news breaks, the lights will flash, alerting DJs to switch the music to their prepared somber music playlists. Alex Warner, Marie Claire, "Exactly What Will Happen When Queen Elizabeth II Dies," 23 Apr. 2021 Concerts, bars and hotels are open to those who can flash their vaccine certificates. Washington Post, "With most adults now vaccinated, Israelis are busting loose," 21 Apr. 2021 While the Lyrids are a medium-scale shower in terms of the number of meteors, they're known for producing quite a few fireballs, which are shooting stars that flash brightly and leave a long-lasting streak across the sky. Stefanie Waldek, Travel + Leisure, "The Lyrid Meteor Shower Will Bring Dazzling Shooting Stars This Month," 4 Apr. 2021 In 2019, the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency warned that China appeared to be deploying a new generation of extremely powerful lasers that could flash to life by the middle of this decade, putting new classes of American satellites at risk. William J. Broad, BostonGlobe.com, "How space became the next ‘great power’ contest between the US and China," 25 Jan. 2021 In 2019, the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency warned that China appeared to be deploying a new generation of extremely powerful lasers that could flash to life by the middle of this decade, putting new classes of American satellites at risk. New York Times, "How Space Became the Next ‘Great Power’ Contest Between the U.S. and China," 24 Jan. 2021 Widder created an electronic jellyfish that mimics the light shows of living bioluminescent jellyfish using a circle of 16 blue LEDs that flash in patterns. Ferris Jabr, Scientific American, "Gleaning the Gleam: A Deep-Sea Webcam Sheds Light on Bioluminescent Ocean Life," 5 Aug. 2010 Then there’s the question of cultural appropriation, or at least misrepresentation, as some celebrities have come under fire for turning a blind eye to tradition and culture just to make some money and flash their bottles on Instagram. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, "The Problem With Celebrity-Backed Tequilas," 13 Apr. 2021 Local organisers wanted neighbourhood marches, flash mobs and protest symbols displayed on Thursday evening, but are preparing a larger protest at the weekend. NBC News, "Dozens detained as Belarus marks 'Freedom Day' with new protests," 25 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Fox 9 report said these residents said their children have been traumatized due to the flash bangs and chemicals like pepper spray that circulated into their apartments. Fox News, "Brooklyn Center residents near police station fear returning home: report," 29 Apr. 2021 Amid easing of travel restrictions, unless demand spikes rapidly enough to outpace the increase in supply, flash sales can be found as airlines attempt to entice travelers to return. Lea Lane, Forbes, "European Countries Americans Are Seeking To Visit This Summer, And Predicted International Airfares," 28 Apr. 2021 Another study in reliability over flash, Leatherwood has enough tools to be a fixture along a line despite athleticism that's merely passable. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "Five NFL prospects who could be surprise first-round draft picks," 28 Apr. 2021 Here are highlights of the most popular home good items on sale for two days: Watch for bonus flash deals and limited deals that roll out hourly. oregonlive, "Wayfair Way Days: Up to 80% off outdoor, indoor and office furniture, lighting, storage, rugs, art starts today," 28 Apr. 2021 At a remote outpost in the mountainous highlands of Papua New Guinea, a young American psychologist named Paul Ekman arrived with a collection of flash cards and a new theory. Kate Crawford, The Atlantic, "Why We Shouldn’t Trust AI to Tell Us What We Feel," 27 Apr. 2021 The Flag Smashers were your worst uncle's notion of Antifa, masked anti-everything flash-mobbers taking commands from their smartphones. Darren Franich, EW.com, "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," 23 Apr. 2021 Washington police would retain their access to armored transport and non-lethal stun and flash grenades, as proposed by state Rep. Matt Boehnke, R-Kennewick. Tim Gruver, Washington Examiner, "Washington state Democrats shred key provisions to police reform bill banning chokeholds," 23 Apr. 2021 In mid-April, Bitcoin experienced a flash crash and plunged nearly 14% in less than an hour. Ramishah Maruf, CNN, "Everything you need to know about bitcoin," 22 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective One of the many challenges the pair faced was the fluctuating light and constant movement of the station, which typically makes non-flash photography harder to achieve. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, "See the International Space Station Like Never Before With This Photo Book Created by an Astronaut and Photographer," 19 Aug. 2020 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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Time Traveler for flash

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for flash

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Flash.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flash. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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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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Comments on flash

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