Synonyms & Antonyms of flash

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 a sudden and usually temporary growth of activity
  • a flash of last-minute trips to the grocery store before the onset of the big snowstorm

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2 a sudden intense expression of strong feeling
  • a much-needed flash of humor during the otherwise boring lecture

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3 a very small space of time
  • the shower will be over in a flash

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4 something extraordinary or surprising
  • the new goalie for our hockey team was apparently quite a flash in his hometown

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5 excessive or unnecessary display
  • the expensive clothes, the luxury cars, and other apparent signs of success are all flash that belie the fact that the family is up to its ears in debt

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Synonyms & Antonyms of flash (Entry 2 of 3)

1 to shoot forth bursts of light
  • the actress's diamond necklace flashed as she hurried on stage to accept the award

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2 to present so as to invite notice or attention
  • flashed a wad of cash as he paid for his dinner

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3 to shine with light at regular intervals
  • the disco lights flashed, and the revelers danced

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4 to make known openly or publicly
  • flashed the news of the royal birth around the world

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Synonyms & Antonyms of flash (Entry 3 of 3)

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About flash

How does the verb flash contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of flash are gleam, glimmer, glint, glisten, glitter, shimmer, and sparkle. While all these words mean "to send forth light," flash implies a sudden outburst of bright light.

lightning flashed

When is it sensible to use gleam instead of flash?

Although the words gleam and flash have much in common, gleam suggests a steady light seen through an obscuring medium or against a dark background.

lights gleamed in the valley

When could glimmer be used to replace flash?

The words glimmer and flash are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, glimmer suggests a faint or wavering gleam.

a distant glimmering light

Where would glint be a reasonable alternative to flash?

While in some cases nearly identical to flash, glint implies a cold glancing light.

glinting steel

When would glisten be a good substitute for flash?

While the synonyms glisten and flash are close in meaning, glisten applies to the soft sparkle from a wet or oily surface.

glistening wet sidewalk

In what contexts can glitter take the place of flash?

The synonyms glitter and flash are sometimes interchangeable, but glitter connotes a brilliant sparkling or gleaming.

glittering diamonds

When can shimmer be used instead of flash?

The words shimmer and flash can be used in similar contexts, but shimmer means shining with a wavering light.

a shimmering satin dress

When might sparkle be a better fit than flash?

The meanings of sparkle and flash largely overlap; however, sparkle suggests innumerable moving points of bright light.

the sparkling waters

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Learn More About flash

Time Traveler for flash

Time Traveler

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

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Thesaurus Entries Near flash

flaring (up)



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Cite this Entry

“Flash.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on flash

Nglish: Translation of flash for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flash for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about flash


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