flicker

1 of 3

verb

flick·​er ˈfli-kər How to pronounce flicker (audio)
flickered; flickering ˈfli-k(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce flicker (audio)

intransitive verb

1
: to move irregularly or unsteadily : flutter
Shadows flickered on the wall.
2
: to burn or shine fitfully or with a fluctuating light
a candle flickering in the window
3
: to appear or pass briefly or quickly
Thoughts flickered through his mind.
A smile flickered across her face.

transitive verb

1
: to cause to flicker
2
: to produce by flickering

flicker

2 of 3

noun (1)

1
a
: an act of flickering
b
: a sudden brief movement
the flicker of an eyelash
c
: a momentary quickening
a flicker of anger
d
: a slight indication : hint
a flicker of recognition
2
a
: a wavering light
the flicker of a candle
b
: a repeated momentary defect in a cathode-ray tube image caused especially by slow scanning of the screen
3
dated, informal : movie
often used in plural
flickery adjective

flicker

3 of 3

noun (2)

: a large barred and spotted North American woodpecker (Colaptes auratus) with a brown back that commonly forages on the ground for ants compare red-shafted flicker, yellow-shafted flicker

Example Sentences

Verb A TV was flickering in the background. The overhead light kept flickering off and on. Thoughts flickered through his mind. A smile flickered across her face.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English flikeren, from Old English flicorian

Noun (2)

probably imitative of its call

First Known Use

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun (1)

1822, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

1809, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of flicker was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near flicker

Cite this Entry

“Flicker.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flicker. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

flicker 1 of 3

verb

flick·​er ˈflik-ər How to pronounce flicker (audio)
flickered; flickering -(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce flicker (audio)
1
: to move irregularly or unsteadily : flutter
2
: to burn unsteadily or with a constantly changing light
a flickering candle

flicker

2 of 3

noun

1
: an act of flickering
2
: a brief stirring
a flicker of interest
3
: a flickering light
flickery adjective

flicker

3 of 3

noun

: a large insect-eating North American woodpecker with a black crescent on the breast and yellow or red on the underside of the wings and tail compare red-shafted flicker, yellow-shafted flicker

Medical Definition

flicker

noun

flick·​er ˈflik-ər How to pronounce flicker (audio)
: the wavering or fluttering visual sensation produced by intermittent light when the interval between flashes is not small enough to produce complete fusion of the individual impressions

More from Merriam-Webster on flicker

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ