Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To burst forth into or as if into flame.
  • intransitive verb To give off light or be lighted in sudden or intermittent bursts.
  • intransitive verb To appear or occur suddenly.
  • intransitive verb To move or proceed rapidly.
  • intransitive verb To hang up a phone line momentarily, as when using call waiting.
  • intransitive verb Slang To think of or remember something suddenly.
  • intransitive verb Slang To expose oneself in an indecent manner.
  • intransitive verb To cause (light) to appear suddenly or in intermittent bursts.
  • intransitive verb To cause to burst into flame.
  • intransitive verb To reflect (light).
  • intransitive verb To cause to reflect light from (a surface).
  • intransitive verb To make known or signal by flashing lights.
  • intransitive verb To communicate or display at great speed.
  • intransitive verb To exhibit briefly.
  • intransitive verb To hang up (a phone line) momentarily, as when using call waiting.
  • intransitive verb To display ostentatiously; flaunt.
  • intransitive verb To fill suddenly with water.
  • intransitive verb To cover with a thin protective layer.
  • noun A sudden, brief, intense display of light.
  • noun A sudden perception.
  • noun A split second; an instant.
  • noun A brief news dispatch or transmission.
  • noun Slang Gaudy or ostentatious display.
  • noun A flashlight.
  • noun Instantaneous illumination for photography.
  • noun A device, such as a flashbulb, flashgun, or flash lamp, used to produce such illumination.
  • noun Slang The pleasurable sensation that accompanies the use of a drug; a rush.
  • noun Archaic The language or cant of thieves, tramps, or underworld figures.
  • adjective Happening suddenly or very quickly.
  • adjective Slang Ostentatious; showy.
  • adjective Of or relating to figures of quarterly economic growth released by the government and subject to later revision.
  • adjective Of or relating to photography using instantaneous illumination.
  • adjective Computers Of or relating to flash memory.
  • adjective Archaic Of or relating to thieves, swindlers, and underworld figures.
  • idiom (flash in the pan) One that promises great success but fails.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To dash (water); sprinkle.
  • To splash; dash about, as water.
  • To increase the flow of water in; flood with water from a reservoir or otherwise, as a stream or a sewer; flush. See flashing.
  • To splash, as waves.
  • Insipid; vapid.
  • noun A pool of water.
  • noun A sluice or lock on a navigable river, just above a shoal, to raise the water while craft are passing.
  • noun A body of water driven by violence.
  • To burst into sudden flame; specifically, to ignite and flare up with sudden and transient brilliancy; emit a bright flame for a moment: as, the flashing-point of oil; the powder flashed in the pan.
  • To burst forth with sudden brilliancy; break out in a transient or variable gleam or glitter; emit flashes; gleam: as, the lightning flashed continually.
  • To burst suddenly into view or perception; come or appear instantaneously: as, the scene flashed upon his sight; the solution of the problem flashed into his mind.
  • To burst suddenly into action; break out with sudden force or violence.
  • To come, move, or pass in a flashing manner; act as if in or by a flash: as, the dog flashed by in hot pursuit.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English flashen, to splash, variant of flasken, of imitative origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the Middle English word flashen (to splash), a variant of flasken, which was likely of imitative origin.

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Examples

  • Aye! yet something whispered that the flash carried a meaning, was, indeed, a spark from that mightier _flash of arms_ that would, ere long, blaze out at the very mention of that name.

    The Arena Volume 4, No. 21, August, 1891

  • The report of the rifle was magical in its effect upon the Basuto ponies, each rearing up on its hind legs and striking out with its forefeet; but the same punishment was meted out by the riders -- namely, a sharp tap between the ears with the barrels of the rifles -- and the result was that beyond fidgeting they stood fairly still, while _flash, flash, flash_, three more shots were fired.

    A Dash from Diamond City

  • Now the darkness was cut by a bright flash of light right in front; there was the sharp crack of a rifle, and right and left _flash, crack, flash, crack_, ran along a line.

    Charge! A Story of Briton and Boer

  • Flash Mode: flash off ,flash on,flash auto, illumination Auto

    Woot! - One Day, One Deal

  • $SID. = '& flash ='. $flash; if (is_array ($_EXTRA_URL)) $_EXTRA_URL [] = 'flash ='. $flash; else

    phpBB.com

  • $SID. = '& flash ='. $flash; if (is_array ($_EXTRA_URL)) $_EXTRA_URL [] = 'flash ='. $flash; else

    phpBB.com

  • Big in movement and expression it must be, depending for effect not on words but on the revealing flash; it must be the summit of the action; it must be the event toward which the entire movement has been rising; it must be the fulfillment of what was foreshadowed; it must be keen, quick, perfectly logical and _flash_ the illuminating revelation, as if one would say, "Here, this is what I've kept you waiting for -- my whole reason for being."

    Writing for Vaudeville

  • Now, when you see or hear the term "flash mob," a scary image comes to mind: a large group of black teenage boys who appear out of nowhere to commit crimes.

    Zack Isaacs: How to Stop Flash Mobs

  • Now, when you see or hear the term "flash mob," a scary image comes to mind: a large group of black teenage boys who appear out of nowhere to commit crimes.

    Zack Isaacs: How to Stop Flash Mobs

  • Now, when you see or hear the term "flash mob," a scary image comes to mind: a large group of black teenage boys who appear out of nowhere to commit crimes.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

Comments

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  • A village in Staffordshire, England.

    January 1, 2008

  • Interesting tidbits from the definitions:

    To cover with a thin layer, as objects of glass with glass of a different color.

    To expand, as blown glass, into a disk.

    A preparation of capsicum, burnt sugar, etc., used for coloring brandy and rum, and giving them a factitious strength.

    A language, created by a repressed minority to maintain cultural identity, that cannot be understood by the ruling class; for example, Ebonics.

    January 15, 2013

  • In rock climbing, if you flash a wall, it means you get up it all the way on your first try - especially used in bouldering competitions.

    May 26, 2022