flick·​er | \ˈfli-kər \
flickered; flickering\ ˈfli-​k(ə-​)riŋ \

Definition of flicker 

(Entry 1 of 3)

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


noun (1)

Definition of flicker (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : 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

2a : 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


noun (2)

Definition of flicker (Entry 3 of 3)

: 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

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Other Words from flicker

Noun (1)

flickery \ ˈfli-​k(ə-​)rē \ adjective

Synonyms for flicker

Synonyms: Verb

dance, dart, flick, flirt, flit, flitter, flutter, zip

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Examples of flicker in a Sentence


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.
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First Known Use of flicker


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

History and Etymology for flicker


Middle English flikeren, from Old English flicorian

Noun (2)

probably imitative of its call

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Time Traveler for flicker

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

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More Definitions for flicker



English Language Learners Definition of flicker

: to burn or glow in an unsteady way : to produce an unsteady light

: to appear or pass briefly or quickly


flick·​er | \ˈfli-kər \
flickered; flickering

Kids Definition of flicker

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to burn unsteadily a flickering candle

2 : to appear briefly A smile flickered across her face.

3 : to move quickly Roy's eyes flickered to her hand …— Carl Hiaasen, Hoot



Kids Definition of flicker (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a quick small movement a flicker of the eyelids

2 : a quick movement of light



Kids Definition of flicker (Entry 3 of 3)

: a large North American woodpecker


flick·​er | \ˈflik-ər \

Medical Definition of flicker 

: 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

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Comments on flicker

What made you want to look up flicker? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

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