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

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The trio who long represented Dallas’ second-team offense — if not third — were now ready to flash their chemistry as starters. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, 19 Sep. 2022 To not flash the paparazzi, Kendall wore a pair of nude boyshorts underneath her bottoms. Seventeen, 9 Sep. 2022 Not saying Alabama coach Nick Saban needs to flash a Horns Down on national TV, but maybe that’s not such a bad idea either. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, 9 Sep. 2022 Last month, Death Valley and the surrounding Mojave landscape were submerged in water as record rainfall gave way to flash floods. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 2 Sep. 2022 Team America now sent Hidai a second signal to flash to marines as the operator escorted the family to the gate—a text image with the word KING PIN. Michael Venutolo-mantovani, WIRED, 30 Aug. 2022 Fifteen minutes later, when lightning started to flash above them and a weather report from a GPS device said rain was on its way, the need to find shelter became more urgent. Julie Jag, The Salt Lake Tribune, 24 Aug. 2022 This led to flash flooding across the metro area, sweeping cars off the roadways and flooding homes and apartments. Judson Jones And Monica Garrett, CNN, 24 Aug. 2022 He's acted like a pro, prepared like a pro since he's got here and continues to flash. José M. Romero, The Arizona Republic, 21 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Get your cuppa in flash: Simply store the inner core of the mug in the freezer, then slip the frozen cup into the protective plastic sleeve and pour in hot coffee. Sarah Wharton, Good Housekeeping, 19 Sep. 2022 Its pungent, almost-peppery flavor can warm meats and vegetables in a flash or make an excellent addition to marinades and sauces. Kelsey Ogletree, Better Homes & Gardens, 19 Sep. 2022 If fried ice cream and turkey aren't reason enough, deep fryers are also ideal for cooking frozen foods in a flash. Melanie Rud, Peoplemag, 19 Sep. 2022 In a flash, tennis lost two players with 43 Grand Slam titles between them. Sean Gregory, Time, 15 Sep. 2022 Hill can wreck a game in a flash, but he also could be used as a decoy, occupying defenders and allowing Tagovailoa’s other targets — including Cedrick Wilson, Jaylen Waddle, and Mike Gesicki — to exploit matchups and find open areas. Jim Mcbride, BostonGlobe.com, 8 Sep. 2022 The best mouthwashes make your breath feel minty fresh in a flash. Cristina Montemayor, Men's Health, 15 Aug. 2022 Several subways, including the E, 6, N, and W, shuttle you downtown, uptown, and east to Queens in a flash. Lauren Mowery, Forbes, 12 Aug. 2022 Sore muscles could find worse places to unwind than at the Spa at Viceroy Snowmass, where the CBD massage takes you from beat to Zen in a flash. Stacey Lastoe, Washington Post, 28 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The preserve’s southern region is a study in the power of water, and the Lost Dog Wash Trail gives a tour of how flash floods and storm runoff have shaped the foothills of the McDowell Mountains range in the northeast Valley. Mare Czinar, USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2022 Residents who live near the intersection where the accident occurred said the flash mobs of street takeovers have become weekly occurrences in their neighborhood. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 13 June 2022 The preserve’s southern region is a study in the power of water, and the Lost Dog Wash Trail gives a tour of how flash floods and storm runoff have shaped the foothills of the McDowell Mountains range in the northeast Valley. Mare Czinar, USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2022 The preserve’s southern region is a study in the power of water, and the Lost Dog Wash Trail gives a tour of how flash floods and storm runoff have shaped the foothills of the McDowell Mountains range in the northeast Valley. Mare Czinar, USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2022 The preserve’s southern region is a study in the power of water, and the Lost Dog Wash Trail gives a tour of how flash floods and storm runoff have shaped the foothills of the McDowell Mountains range in the northeast Valley. Mare Czinar, USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2022 The preserve’s southern region is a study in the power of water, and the Lost Dog Wash Trail gives a tour of how flash floods and storm runoff have shaped the foothills of the McDowell Mountains range in the northeast Valley. Mare Czinar, USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2022 The preserve’s southern region is a study in the power of water, and the Lost Dog Wash Trail gives a tour of how flash floods and storm runoff have shaped the foothills of the McDowell Mountains range in the northeast Valley. Mare Czinar, USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2022 The preserve’s southern region is a study in the power of water, and the Lost Dog Wash Trail gives a tour of how flash floods and storm runoff have shaped the foothills of the McDowell Mountains range in the northeast Valley. Mare Czinar, USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2022 See More

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

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

Learn More About flash

Time Traveler for flash

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near flash

flaser

flash

flash back

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for flash

Last Updated

22 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Flash.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flash. Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for flash

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

More from Merriam-Webster on flash

Nglish: Translation of flash for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flash for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about flash

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!