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 Morgan show is based on previously unexhibited photographs—two hundred of which flash by on a video loop on the wall—but the curator is careful to provide examples of the artist’s use of the medium throughout his career. Vince Aletti, The New Yorker, 22 July 2022 It is thought that dinoflagellates flash to scare away predators. Grrlscientist, Forbes, 11 July 2022 Stickers, the photos or animations that flash across the messaging service WhatsApp, have become the language of Colombia’s highly contentious elections this year. Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post, 15 June 2022 An accompanying visual directed by Philip Andelman also arrived on Friday, and the eerie clip features the trio navigating a dark motel while laser beams flash with strippers dancing on a pole. Michael Saponara, Billboard, 22 Apr. 2022 The cliché of seeing your life flash before your eyes was a very real thing for many of those whose cases were reviewed in the paper. oregonlive, 13 Apr. 2022 In a clip of the meet-up shared by Manchester United on Instagram, Brady, 44, and Ronaldo shake hands in the middle of the nearly empty stadium as cameras flash around them. Abigail Adams, PEOPLE.com, 12 Mar. 2022 Heavy thunderstorms also led to flash flooding Tuesday evening along the Little Pigeon River in eastern Tennessee that prompted the evacuation of more than 400 people from a campground. Bradford Betz, Fox News, 13 July 2022 In addition to flash flooding, the U.S. also endures other types of floods, including slow-motion river flooding and coastal flooding during big storms, hurricanes and sometimes during times of high tide. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, 22 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun According to the My Body, My Choice website, more than 150 tattoo studios across the United States participated in Sundays tattoo flash event. Haleigh Kochanski, The Arizona Republic, 2 Aug. 2022 Inured to living in one of the world’s most dangerous geopolitical flash points, Taiwanese people have largely taken the prospect of the visit in stride. New York Times, 2 Aug. 2022 But the izakaya menu, now overseen by Nimblefish’s Cody Auger, offers plenty to recommend, including delicate sashimi aged in-house or flash-cooked over burning straw; crave-worthy chicken karaage; and steaks pulled from the gorgeous grill. oregonlive, 1 Aug. 2022 Walmart has added new deals to its weekly flash picks. al, 1 Aug. 2022 With money from sponsorship deals and a new TV contract supporting full-time professional players, there is more flash and polish than many expected. Danica Kirka, The Christian Science Monitor, 29 July 2022 This area has deteriorated extraordinarily fast, even for flash drought. Judson Jones, CNN, 29 July 2022 Just over the rise, Wyeth’s father was killed in a horror of heat and flash; but here, at his own funeral, all is quiet, with the artist lovingly tended to by a procession of friends and family. Murray Whyte, BostonGlobe.com, 28 July 2022 Throughout the trailer, scenes from Monroe’s life flash on the screen, but behind the iconic moments from film history, Monroe struggled with her identity and the pressures of fame. Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone, 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

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Flash.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flash. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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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

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