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.

  • noun A sudden burst of flame or light; a light instantaneously appearing and disappearing; a gleam: as, a flash from a gun.
  • noun A sudden burst of something regarded as resembling light in its effect, as color, wit, glee, energy, passion, etc.; a short, vivid, and brilliant outburst; a momentary brightness or show.
  • noun The time occupied by a flash of light; a very short period; a transient state; an instant.
  • noun plural The hot stage of a fever.
  • noun A showy or blustering person.
  • noun A quibble; jugglery with words.
  • noun A shoot of a plant.
  • noun A preparation of capsicum, burnt sugar, etc., used for coloring brandy and rum, and giving them a factitious strength.
  • noun Hence— An unsuccessful effort or outburst; a brilliant endeavor followed by failure: said of an utterly abortive effort that has been made with much parade or confidence, of an ineffective outbreak of passion, etc.
  • 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.

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.

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

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • 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