Skip to main content
Select Source:

flash

flash / flash/ • v. 1. [intr.] (of a light or something that reflects light) shine in a bright but brief, sudden, or intermittent way: the lights started flashing | [as adj.] (flashing) a police car with a flashing light. ∎  [tr.] cause to shine briefly or suddenly: the oncoming car flashed its lights. ∎  [tr.] shine or show a light to send (a signal): red lights started to flash a warning. ∎  [tr.] give (a swift or sudden look): Carrie flashed a glance in his direction | she flashed him a withering look. ∎  express a sudden burst of emotion, esp. anger, with such a look: she glared at him, her eyes flashing. 2. [tr.] display (an image, words, or information) suddenly on a television or computer screen or electronic sign, typically briefly or repeatedly: suddenly the screen flashes a message. ∎  [intr.] (of an image or message) be displayed in such a way: the election results flashed on the screen. ∎ inf. hold up or show (something, often proof of one's identity) quickly before replacing it: she opened her purse and flashed her ID card. ∎ inf. make a conspicuous display of (something) so as to impress or attract attention: they all flash their money around. ∎  [intr.] [often as n.] (flashing) inf. (esp. of a man) show one's genitals briefly in public. 3. [intr.] move or pass very quickly: a look of terror flashed across Kirov's face the scenery flashed by. ∎  (of a thought or memory) suddenly come into or pass through the mind: another stray thought flashed through her mind. ∎  [tr.] send (news or information) swiftly by means of telegraphy or telecommunications: the story was flashed around the world. • n. 1. a sudden brief burst of bright light or a sudden glint from a reflective surface: the grenade exploded with a yellow flash of light a lightning flash. ∎  a bright patch of color, often one used for decoration or identification: orange flashes adorn the aircraft. 2. a thing that occurs suddenly and within a brief period of time, in particular: ∎  a sudden instance or manifestation of a quality, understanding, or humor: she had a flash of inspiration. ∎  a fleeting glimpse of something, esp. something vivid or eye-catching: the blue flash of a kingfisher. ∎  a news flash. 3. a camera attachment that produces a brief very bright light, used for taking photographs in poor light: an electronic flash | if in any doubt, use flash | [as adj.] flash photography. 4. excess plastic or metal forced between facing surfaces as two halves of a mold close up, forming a thin projection on the finished object. • adj. inf., chiefly Brit. (of a thing) ostentatiously expensive, elaborate, or up to date: a flash new car. ∎  (of a person) superficially attractive because stylish and full of brash charm: he was carrying this money around and trying to be flash. PHRASES: flash in the pan a thing or person whose sudden but brief success is not repeated or repeatable: our start to the season was just a flash in the pan. in (or like) a flash very quickly; immediately: she was out of the back door in a flash. (as) quick as a flash (esp. of a person's response or reaction) very quickly: quick as a flash, he was at her side.PHRASAL VERBS: flash back (of a person's thoughts or mind) briefly and suddenly recall a previous time or incident: her thoughts immediately flashed back to last night. flash over make an electric circuit by sparking across a gap. ∎  (of a fire) spread instantly across a gap because of intense heat.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"flash." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"flash." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/flash-1

"flash." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/flash-1

flash

flash sudden burst of flame or light XVI; sudden rush of water; superficial brilliance; brilliant or showy person; †(sl.) wig XVII; ornament sewn to the collar of a tunic XIX. f. flash vb., first with ref. to the rushing or dashing of water (XIV), its application to light or flame being doubtful before XVI.
Hence flashy XVI, of which flash adj. (XVII) is a partial syn. App. of echoic orig.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"flash." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"flash." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/flash-2

"flash." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/flash-2

flash

flash a flash in the pan a thing or person whose sudden but brief success is not repeated or repeatable. With allusion to the priming of a firearm, the flash being from an explosion of gunpowder within the lock.

see also beware of an oak, it draws the stroke; avoid an ash, it counts the flash.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"flash." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"flash." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/flash

"flash." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/flash

flash

flashabash, ash, Ashe, bash, brash, cache, calash, cash, clash, crash, dash, encash, flash, gash, gnash, hash, lash, mash, Nash, panache, pash, plash, rash, sash, slash, smash, soutache, splash, stash, thrash, trash •earbash • kurbash • calabash •slapdash • pebbledash • balderdash •spatterdash • backlash • backslash •whiplash • eyelash • goulash •newsflash • thunderflash • mishmash •gatecrash • Midrash • potash •succotash

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"flash." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"flash." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/flash-0

"flash." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/flash-0