Main definitions of flash in English

: flash1flash2



  • 1[no object] Shine in a bright but brief, sudden, or intermittent way.

    ‘lightning flashed overhead’
    ‘an irritating neon sign flashed on and off’
    ‘a police car with a flashing light’
    • ‘I looked up at the bright green neon sign flashing on and off, ‘Club Divine’ it read.’
    • ‘Immediately after stowing our goggles, a blinding bright light flashed in front of my windscreen.’
    • ‘The ship whisked into the night's sky, its bright lights flashing.’
    • ‘A sudden burst of bright green light flashed behind the tree.’
    • ‘Without warning, to his left, a bright light flashed at the edge of the woods, about thirty meters away.’
    • ‘A shriek echoed around the hill as bright lights began to flash under the tree.’
    • ‘Bright light flashed across our eyes as fire blew up everywhere.’
    • ‘Then she saw them dancing, red and blue lights flashing over the hardwood gym floor, her head on his shoulder.’
    • ‘Bright lights flashed in an array of colors, advertising everything from vehicles to burlesque houses.’
    • ‘A white light flashed briefly before my eyes, and there were no other words to be said.’
    • ‘Just as I started to dial, I noticed the red light flashing on the handset signaling I had a phone message.’
    • ‘There were red and blue lights flashing over the house.’
    • ‘I loved being there away from the fans and flashing cameras.’
    • ‘No fewer than nine police cars with flashing lights drove up, accompanied by a dozen, pistol - packing gorillas.’
    • ‘It was already crowded and pumping with Latin dance music, the bright lights flashing across the entire room.’
    • ‘She began to take a step off the ledge, but bright light flashed before her eyes.’
    • ‘He squinted his eyes as cameras flashed in front of him.’
    • ‘A bright light flashed and everything went silent.’
    • ‘A distress beacon flashes over the snow-covered surroundings.’
    • ‘Squad cars with flashing lights move in slow arcs through the clinic parking lot.’
    light up, shine, flare, blaze, glare, beam, gleam, glint, sparkle, spark, burn, fluoresce
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object]Cause to shine briefly or suddenly.
      ‘the oncoming car flashed its lights’
      • ‘A lorry driver stopped at Frankley Services after a car flashed its lights at him.’
      • ‘Jak flashed the light around to see what was surrounding.’
      • ‘The Italians report when the vehicle was 33 feet away, a warning light was flashed, giving little time for them to react.’
      • ‘Cars and lorries were flashing their lights and beeping at me.’
      • ‘When she reversed into a parking space opposite the church, another car flashed its lights at her.’
      • ‘He flashed his light over it, and tried to make out what it was, but it was very old and torn.’
      • ‘The panel began to flash a pulsing red light like the beat of a heart, and a loud alarm began sounding through out the building and the surrounding outdoors.’
      • ‘The car was flashing its lights and sounding the horn.’
      • ‘The driver was alerted to on-coming cars flashing their lights at him.’
      • ‘Motorists could also draw attention to themselves by flashing their lights or sounding their horn to make people aware they are in difficulty.’
      • ‘The police car flashed his lights briefly at a car that touched 90 or so, but that was about it.’
      • ‘He could already hear the sounds of patrolmen, calling out over the stretch of nothingness, flashing their lights every which way.’
      • ‘The car behind me started flashing its lights, and turned on its siren.’
      • ‘Jack flashed the light down the tunnel and noticed that it curved too much to look all the way down it.’
      • ‘We have had cars flash their lights and in the case of one van driver, sound his horn just because we were keeping within the speed limit.’
      • ‘She gently opened the door and flashed her light to see what lay ahead of her.’
      • ‘I have repeatedly had cars flashing their lights at me or hooting their horns and giving very rude gestures.’
      • ‘Mark turned and flashed the light to where Tina was standing.’
      • ‘I drove on to the shrubs in the centre and flashed my hazard warning lights.’
      • ‘He says he was driving his van towards the city centre when a car behind him started flashing its lights at him.’
    2. 1.2[with object]Shine or show a light to send (a signal)
      ‘red lights started to flash a warning’
      • ‘A heliograph was a communications system consisting of two mirrors on a tripod used to flash signals with sunlight.’
      • ‘James quickly glanced back at Higgins, flashing him a signal.’
      • ‘He waited until they were closer and then flashed the prearranged signal.’
      • ‘He lit the lamp he carried, and flashed an agreed signal to the other three men waiting in one of the canoes a short distance away.’
      • ‘The automobile in front of them flashed a warning signal of red to tell of slowing, and he eased up on the gas as he headed further into the dark city.’
      • ‘They want to install a system which will flash a warning signal in the cab of the train if it passes through a red light.’
    3. 1.3[with object]Give (a swift look)
      ‘Carrie flashed a glance in his direction’
      [with two objects] ‘she flashed him a withering look’
      • ‘The man in front of her nodded his head and flashed a look of concern in her direction.’
      • ‘His sister flashed a mischievous look at him.’
      • ‘James flashed an apologetic look, but Leanne felt sorry for him.’
      • ‘Brown flashed a knowing look into the gallery, and a few people, for want of a better word, tittered.’
      • ‘People flash coy looks at one another, hoping that they won't be asked to make the first move and speak about what they make of it all.’
      • ‘He flashed an indecipherable look at me and opened the door.’
      • ‘She flashed him a dangerous glance before looking away again.’
      • ‘She flashed another look at the weapon; still her fear remained non-existent.’
      • ‘I flash a look at all the others that warns them not to help him.’
      • ‘Turning to look at me, she notices where my gaze had been and flashes a quick warning glare, as I quickly try and pull my eyes away, but obviously not quick enough.’
      • ‘He flashed a stern look towards the nurse.’
      • ‘She flashes me a knowing glance and looks to be keeping track of them from the corner of her eyes.’
      • ‘Gwen flashed an angry look at her and went around her to the door, shutting it tightly behind her.’
      • ‘She flashed an evil look back at him.’
      • ‘She pushes men away while flashing a come-hither look.’
      • ‘Coach flashed a look of disgust in our direction and walked up to me.’
      • ‘Eric flashed a look between the two of them but didn't say anything.’
      • ‘Jolene flashed a look at the gate and saw the guard back there again, staring blankly into space.’
      • ‘I flashed a look of gratitude at Noelle, and she nodded coolly.’
      • ‘He flashed an apologetic look at Jonah and Sally, his face a mixture of guilt and fear.’
    4. 1.4(of a person's eyes) indicate sudden emotion, especially anger.
      ‘she glared at him, her eyes flashing’
      • ‘Darcy's face paled and her green eyes flashed with restrained emotion.’
      • ‘‘You had no right to stare at me as you did, sir,’ she said bitterly, her eyes flashing in anger.’
      • ‘When his eyes located her, cuddled into Adam's lap, Joe flew into a rage, his green eyes flashing in anger at his brother.’
      • ‘She whirled on him, her brown eyes flashing with anger.’
      • ‘‘Jordan isn't going to make me miserable,’ Faith argued, her eyes flashing with anger.’
      • ‘His eyes were flashing with anger and his mouth was covered in blood.’
      • ‘His eyes flashed with anger for a moment, making Gwen step back unconsciously.’
      • ‘For a second I thought he was going to hit me, his eyes were flashing with anger and impatience.’
      • ‘His eyes flashed with anger and he grabbed Willis' wrist and twisted it behind his back.’
      • ‘Jason's eyes flashed with anger, and I began to shrink inside myself.’
      • ‘Her head was up again and her eyes were flashing with anger.’
      • ‘Her brow furrowed in confusion, but then her eyes flashed with anger again.’
      • ‘His eyes were flashing from humiliation, anger and probably pain.’
      • ‘His eyes flashed with anger behind his round gold framed glasses.’
      • ‘Alan drew his shotgun, his eyes flashing with anger as he charged back towards the door to the stairway.’
      • ‘His eyes were flashing with anger, but they softened.’
      • ‘My mother replied in a low voice through gritted teeth, her honey brown eyes flashing with anger.’
      • ‘The crying woman's head jerked up, eyes flashing in momentary anger at my tone of voice.’
      • ‘Grace's eyes flashed, anger twisting her features into a snarl, ‘so he wants to play that way does he?’’
      • ‘‘Get the hell away from me Corey - right now’ Hailey said, her eyes flashing with anger.’
  • 2[no object, with adverbial of direction] Move or pass very quickly.

    ‘a look of terror flashed across Kirov's face’
    figurative ‘a sudden thought flashed through his mind’
    • ‘A look of amused surprise flashes over his face.’
    • ‘The goalkeeper didn't even move as the ball flashed past him, sending ripples down the back of the net.’
    • ‘Michael was so wrapped up in not letting her see the pain in his eyes that he didn't notice the pain that flashed quickly across her own features at his words.’
    • ‘A wince of pain flashing over her pale, clammy features told me she was slowly remembering.’
    • ‘For a moment, anger flashes across his face as he addresses this accusation.’
    • ‘But anger flashed across her face when the cellular phone in her pocket rang.’
    • ‘Within seconds of weighing up the overtaking space, the scenery is flashing past you at incredible speed.’
    • ‘For an instant, sheer terror flashed across Lady Alison's face, then she composed herself and turned.’
    • ‘The altimeter was counting down, the final couple of hundred feet flashing by too quickly.’
    • ‘Not even the beautiful scenery flashing past the windows of the truck could distract his thoughts.’
    • ‘As they step inside a look of realization flashes over Jason's face.’
    • ‘Eventually, I became aware that the streetlights were not flashing by as quickly as they had been.’
    • ‘Thinking that he had angered me into an outburst, surprise flashed over his face at my abrupt change in attitude, before being quickly replaced with a cool, calm look.’
    • ‘The pedestrian light is red, the cars are flashing past.’
    • ‘As the van was speeding down the street, lamps overhanging above us flashed by quickly.’
    • ‘There are the cool dudes flashing along the byways as if they were racing in the Tour de France.’
    • ‘They flashed quickly past Marcy, and she had taken them in and interpreted them without knowing it.’
    • ‘The time flashed by so quickly for the rest of the trip.’
    • ‘Karl asked, a confused look flashing over his face again.’
    • ‘She turned her attention to the scenery flashing past her.’
    zoom, streak, tear, shoot, dash, dart, fly, whistle, hurtle, rush, hurry, bolt, race, bound, speed, career, charge, hare, whizz, whoosh, buzz
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1[with object and adverbial of direction]Send (news or information) swiftly by means of telegraphy or telecommunications.
      ‘the story was flashed around the world’
      • ‘However, the whole incident was flashed around to other bases, telling everyone to behave themselves.’
      • ‘With the spread of the Internet, news and events are flashed all over the word in an instant.’
      • ‘TV footage and stills of that scene were flashed around the world.’
      • ‘This news had earlier been flashed to the world via the BBC website.’
      • ‘This era is also made unique by the speed with which sporting feats are flashed around the world.’
      • ‘Ninety years ago, there were no television pictures, radio broadcasts or Internet bulletins to flash the news around the globe in an instant.’
      • ‘This nonchalance is understandable: pictures of his pub are flashed around the world's televisions every time the river breaks its banks.’
      • ‘Images of the shooting - videotaped by TV crews covering the march - were flashed around the world.’
      • ‘The system has the potential to allow vast amounts of information to be flashed across town and city rooftops in total security and without the need to dig up roads for laying cables.’
      • ‘The quote was diligently flashed around the world by wire agencies, including the Press Association.’
  • 3[with object] Display (information or an image) suddenly on a television or computer screen or electronic sign, typically briefly or repeatedly.

    ‘the screen flashed up a menu’
    • ‘Her photograph was being flashed onto television screens last night in an effort to find her relatives.’
    • ‘Their pictures will be flashed on television screens to help reunite them with their traveling companions.’
    • ‘When his computer screen flashes the words ‘Wake up, Neo,’ much of the audience sat up in hopeful recognition.’
    • ‘Mobile phones are bombarded with text messages and information is flashed on motorway signs.’
    • ‘Throughout the show various statistics were flashed up on the screen which frankly seemed hard to believe.’
    • ‘The giant white screen flashed images of people in the streets mourning Corrie's death.’
    • ‘I saw a picture of him that was flashed on the screen at the time of his arrest.’
    • ‘The computerized system takes photographs of the cases, flashing their images on a screen.’
    • ‘Nick listened to the facts and then the news channel flashed a picture of Leigh across the screen.’
    • ‘As he crossed the finishing line his image was flashed up on the large screens.’
    • ‘This information will be flashed on the digital display screen at the bus stop.’
    • ‘Your computer screen is flashing an unwelcome message.’
    • ‘The screen's flashing different pictures at me all at once!’
    • ‘The little screen was black again, quickly flashing how many minutes they talked.’
    • ‘Electronic signs now flash the words SLOW DOWN at speeding vehicles just before the start of the roadworks to give motorists the chance to kill their speed.’
    • ‘The television flashed a split screen picture of the two suspects.’
    display, show, present, set forth, unveil
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1[no object](of information or an image) be displayed briefly or repeatedly on a screen.
      ‘the election results flashed on the screen’
      • ‘A modem dials, pages of information and images flash across a computer screen.’
      • ‘As soon as the first image flashed up on the screen it would have been clear what site it was.’
      • ‘I smiled and sat back watching as several images flashed across the screen, Matt still grunting in annoyance at not having found his desired station to watch.’
      • ‘A crackling image flashed onto the screen, lines of static and interference scrolled up and down the message.’
      • ‘This ensures a customer's details flash up on a call agent's screen as the call comes in.’
      • ‘Seeing the name of Benny's brother flashing on the phone like that had just freaked her out a little bit.’
      • ‘Ron regarded the cartoon flashing brightly across the screen with glazed eyes and a puzzled frown, not pretending to understand it.’
      • ‘The machine beeped in recognition of the code and the numbers flashed momentarily across the screen.’
      • ‘A map flashed onscreen, indicating a location with the proper coordinates beside it.’
      • ‘As he was working at his computer, a message flashed once on the screen.’
      • ‘As he addressed them, huge figures flashed up on an electronic scoreboard, detailing the jump in unemployment.’
      • ‘Take the words of the foreign affairs committee which flashed up on the screen.’
      • ‘When that message does flash across a computer screen, it may well mean that a server problem is about to prove costly.’
      • ‘He was relieved when a picture of his nephew flashed up on the television screen.’
      • ‘On the two giant screens flanking him, video images flashed in rapid-fire succession.’
      • ‘Clues flash on a large screen for just eight seconds apiece.’
      • ‘He stopped as a picture of Abbey flashed onto the screen of a news network.’
      • ‘He raised a scowl as his image flashed across the big screen.’
      • ‘A picture flashed on the screen, a handsome face with a day's worth of stubble.’
      • ‘In fact, the dialogue moves so fast that at one point the film's subtitles actually begin to flash too quickly to read.’
    2. 3.2informal Hold up or show (something, often proof of one's identity) quickly before replacing it.
      ‘she opened her purse and flashed her ID card’
      • ‘Just then another passenger rose from his seat and flashed a small plastic card at the warring parties.’
      • ‘After flashing my driver's license, I took Adrienne to baggage claim.’
      • ‘Ralphie responded quickly as he flashed them his press card.’
      • ‘I flashed my passport and was easily admitted.’
      • ‘Jonathan flashed his ID, and the guards motioned the car through.’
    3. 3.3informal Make a conspicuous display of (something) so as to impress or attract attention.
      ‘they flashed huge wads of money about’
      • ‘Despite living in a homeless shelter, he flashed wads of cash and frequently took airplane trips on purported business.’
      • ‘Undercover officers posing as tourists flashed their expensive mobile phones as bait, waiting for the gang to strike.’
      • ‘It is never safe to flash wads of cash or walk around drunk in the middle of the night, whether in Sweden or Sierra Leone.’
      • ‘They hate to see somebody flashing the money around like that.’
      • ‘Lucky for you teens, Jessica hasn't been flashing any particularly noticeable jewelry on her fingers.’
      • ‘Despite a luxury lifestyle, he keeps his private life private and doesn't flash his wealth around.’
      • ‘They are loud, leery and loaded, and come Friday night you'll find them boozing down the pub flashing the latest designer gear.’
      • ‘Don't flash your money, don't cut through alleys, dress in layers.’
      • ‘You should take their money if they are flashing it round.’
      • ‘He had a habit of flashing the wads of cash his benevolent son sent home to him.’
      show off, flaunt, flourish, display, exhibit, parade, brag about, exult in
      View synonyms
    4. 3.4informal [no object](of a man) show one's genitals briefly in public.
      • ‘A bit later she was waving at me, and when I glanced over she flashed me again - and she'd taken her bra off!’
      • ‘A mother has warned other residents to be on their guard after a man flashed her 12-year-old daughter.’
      • ‘So for fun, we ran around campus in nothing but trench coats flashing people.’
      • ‘Believing a man had flashed at his girlfriend, he drove at him, jamming him against a wall.’
      • ‘The man flashed her after he told her he needed help finding clothes for a party.’
      • ‘He allegedly flashed at a girl of 14 then fled.’
      expose oneself, display one's genitals, reveal one's genitals, show one's genitals, commit indecent exposure
      View synonyms


  • 1A sudden brief burst of bright light.

    ‘a flash of lightning’
    • ‘The landscape was dark, occasionally lit up with a flash of lightning.’
    • ‘I saw the bright flash as it burst and another little cloud of smoke appeared.’
    • ‘At this a loud crash was heard behind them followed by a bright flash of lightning, lighting up the forest briefly.’
    • ‘The bright flashes of light flickered against Nick's hopeless face.’
    • ‘Again lightning cracked, illuminating the room in a bright flash of light.’
    • ‘Many drivers, who did not know the road and could not see the camera, were shocked when they suddenly saw a flash in their rear view mirror - and realised they had been caught.’
    • ‘Occasionally she fancied she could see a sudden bright flash that might be a laser cannon glinting off a rock.’
    • ‘A bolt of lightning descended from the heavens in a blinding flash of yellow light accompanied by the rumble seconds later.’
    • ‘Camera flashes illuminate the speaker as she concludes her two-hour address to a thunderous standing ovation.’
    • ‘Suddenly, a brilliant flash split the night sky in front of him.’
    • ‘There was a sudden flash of white light and a jagged bolt came down from the night time sky.’
    • ‘As she was strolling down the final row, a sudden flash of bright light caught her attention.’
    • ‘She turned when she heard the throng of girls scream and giggle and was almost blinded by camera flashes.’
    • ‘As the light of day slowly dimmed, the world was lit by the angry flashes of lightning which crackled across the sky.’
    • ‘There was a sudden flash that lit up the entire sky, changing the night to day for an instant.’
    • ‘Camera flashes went off as the scene was investigated, causing her to squint.’
    • ‘A flash of lightning lit her room followed by another thunderclap.’
    • ‘A loud clap of thunder sounded overhead, followed immediately by a flash of lightning that lit up the entire night sky.’
    • ‘Thunder growled, and I saw a brief flash of lightning far away.’
    • ‘Large flashes of light occasionally burst forth from the opening of a cave leading into the opposing mountain range.’
    flare, blaze, burst, glare, pulse, blast
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A patch or sudden display of a bright colour.
      ‘the woodpecker swooped from tree to tree with a flash of yellow, green, and red’
      • ‘The glints of orange fish scales and the gleam of a metallic beetle are some of the few flashes of colour in a predominantly monochromatic palette.’
      • ‘The latest handbags feature luxury looks and bejewelled gold chains with flashes of hot colours in materials like snakeskin.’
      • ‘Soft pastels, worn underneath jackets or blazers, will be popular, along with cream, and teamed with flashes of bright colour.’
      • ‘This is a simply conceived space depending for drama on immense expanses of pale stone and flashes of brilliant colour.’
      • ‘With their silvery outlines and flashes of colour, the drawings have a sublime grandeur.’
      • ‘Colours are orchestrated in dark tones, such as sable, olive and black accented with flashes of ultramarine.’
      • ‘Soon Kyrithin spotted a bright flash of red material through the rubble and they both ran over.’
      • ‘Fill another sprayer with undiluted stain of the same color and spray in patches and flashes immediately as the first layer is being sprayed.’
      • ‘The strategic placement of bold panels of colour allows unexpected flashes throughout the hair, dramatizing the movement and lines of each cut and style.’
      • ‘Shot in black and white with dramatic and significant flashes of colour it's three stories rolled into one.’
    2. 1.2British A coloured patch of cloth on a uniform used as the distinguishing emblem of a regiment, formation, or country.
      ‘a short man with the black flashes of the tank units’
      • ‘I ended up buying the kilt itself, a black leather sporran, some black hose, and black flashes.’
      • ‘Later on that year the cloth patch was replaced by a black flash and a solid gold metal Winged Dagger emblem on top of it.’
      • ‘The battle dress jacket is brown with an open neck and shoulder flashes on each arm.’
      • ‘He recognised the flashes on the uniform of the young soldier standing beside him. They indicated service in Cyprus.’
      emblem, insignia, badge, marking
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3A coloured band on the packaging of a product used to catch the consumer's eye.
      ‘on-pack flashes offer a free ‘Taste of the Caribbean’’
      • ‘In response to your query about the Scalextric ‘go-faster’ range, I think they were called ‘Race Tuned’, and carried flashes on their sides to that effect.’
      • ‘Be watchful for later jackets on the Booker winner with flashes advertising the prize.’
    4. 1.4A pre-drawn design for a tattoo.
      • ‘The tattoo artist creates flash in themed sets.’
      • ‘We offer the best print quality tattoo flash from extremely talented and award winning artists.’
      • ‘Plus I will be putting together two galleries, one of designs I have done for specific people, and another of occult tattoo flash art.’
      • ‘Hand-drawn, local tattoo flash has largely been replaced by professional ‘flash artists’ who produce prints of copyrighted flash and sell them at conventions or through the Internet.’
  • 2A sudden or brief manifestation or occurrence of something.

    ‘she had a flash of inspiration’
    • ‘On occasions he has displayed flashes of courage.’
    • ‘Perhaps, one of them will display a flash of brilliance.’
    • ‘There was an apology, a long pause, and then a flash of insight.’
    • ‘Somewhat frustratingly they do show the occasional flash of inspiration, generally during their less frequent slower numbers.’
    • ‘I won't say there was a sudden flash of insight but dimly I was becoming aware that there are lots of things to see if you take the time to look.’
    • ‘He displays flashes of directorial brilliance, particularly in terms of the relationships between the characters, and the performances are solid.’
    • ‘In a sudden flash of insight, I realized what he did not want me to know.’
    • ‘His films, as a result, are often repulsive; yet they contain the occasional flash of genius that may redeem the more unpalatable aspects of his work.’
    • ‘He was hit with a sudden flash of vertigo, and his stomach rolled over in a lazy lurch.’
    • ‘So, the film has intelligent moments, bright spots, flashes of insight, but it lacks genuine weight and presence.’
    • ‘His direction is not perfect, but shows occasional flashes of genius.’
    • ‘Harrison displayed flashes of strength and determination, but it was his endurance that saw him remain champion.’
    • ‘For his wages the Dutchman needs to have a much more significant influence on the team display - occasional flashes of excellence only serve to infuriate even more.’
    • ‘Kevin felt a brief flash of anger, but it quickly subsided and they continued training.’
    • ‘But the spin-off does show the occasional flash of inspiration.’
    • ‘Only rarely is there a sudden flash of insight and this is usually retrospective.’
    • ‘There are flashes of very good prose in this book.’
    • ‘Then with a flash of insight he knew what he had to do.’
    • ‘Paul is manic and edgy on stage, with the occasional flash of surreal genius.’
    • ‘Mary looked at him then, looked at him for the first time since he'd come into the room, and she felt a brief flash of pity.’
    burst, outbreak, outburst, wave, rush, surge, stab, flush, blaze
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1A newsflash.
      • ‘When at last the news agency flash came of the Nazi capitulation on May 7, 1945, the Manchester Eveneing News was ready.’
      • ‘I was in a of a press association this afternoon when the flash came in.’
  • 3A camera attachment that produces a brief very bright light, used for taking photographs in poor light.

    ‘an electronic flash’
    [mass noun] ‘if in any doubt use flash’
    • ‘If you are unable to completely turn the flash off on your camera you won't be able to achieve the look that you want.’
    • ‘For some reason known only to him, he was photographing with the neon light inside the restaurant as the source, rather than his on-camera flash.’
    • ‘Pulling out her camera and attaching the flash, she climbs out of the car and moves past the barricade.’
    • ‘The flash is too close to the lens and it has been capturing orbs of light, dust or moisture in the air.’
    • ‘The phone also is equipped with a camera featuring an attachable flash.’
    • ‘He finds Gilbert, and they spot Keaton, who is using the flash on her digital camera as a flashlight.’
    • ‘The settings of the camera and flashes were always identical, and thus all photographs received a standard light exposure.’
  • 4Computing
    trademark in US [mass noun] A platform for producing and displaying animation and video in web browsers.

    • ‘The same brains that created the Internet have clearly mastered Flash as well.’
    • ‘Other improvements include a removable battery, and using Flash for main memory.’
    • ‘You'll need Flash and QuickTime to view all the extras buried in these online presentations.’
    • ‘We still do a lot of personal research and development work with Flash and our websites are really popular.’
    • ‘The original idea I had was to animate it in Flash, which I have done here.’
  • 5informal [mass noun] Ostentatious stylishness or display of wealth.

    ‘workwear represents a move away from Eighties designer flash’
    • ‘The dark glasses add color and flash to the scene.’
    • ‘Despite all the flash in Las Vegas, this is the one place we experience true wonder.’
    • ‘Located in the heart of West Palm Beach, it's a moneyed, up-market environment, big on designer flash and not short on pose and pretension.’
    • ‘We've all witnessed presentations that were high on flash and flare, and low on content.’
    • ‘It is all conspicuous consumption of premium champagne, BMWs and surface flash.’
  • 6[mass noun] Excess plastic or metal forced between facing surfaces as two halves of a mould close up, forming a thin projection on the finished object.

    ‘flap wheels are ideal for grinding off fibreglass flash’
    • ‘A rotary file in an electric drill motor is the perfect tool for grinding off flash.’
    • ‘Also, when trimming the plates from the sprues, make sure you trim the flash from the bottom of the recessed tab to let the courses sit level.’
    • ‘The trailing edge smoothed out well and the excess plastic flash just fell off.’
  • 7A rush of water, especially down a weir to take a boat over shallows.

    • ‘They often stood there for days until the miller felt able to let down flashes of water to enable them to float over the shallows.’
    • ‘In dry seasons when there was little flow of fresh water, flashes had to be provided.’


  • 1Ostentatiously stylish or expensive.

    ‘a flash new car’
    • ‘If you have 22 grand burning a hole in your pocket you could use your loot to buy a flash sports car or head off on a round-the-world trip.’
    • ‘Money brings status and we want to take away the flash car a drug dealer is driving and show them they are not untouchable.’
    • ‘I parked my grungy old delivery van among the rows and rows of flash cars and crept up to the house.’
    • ‘This means that in a high-consumption society such as ours, when I buy a flash car or suit, I throw down the gauntlet to others to do likewise.’
    • ‘Away from flash boats and cars, the other magnetic attraction of Monte Carlo is gambling.’
    • ‘They don't own flash cars or houses but they do take an active interest in managing their money.’
    • ‘You want to be one of the young star businessmen and have all the trappings of that - flash cars, flash girls and a flash life.’
    • ‘He does not drive a mega sports car, or lead a flash lifestyle.’
    • ‘But I have been aware of a lot of flash cars which kept racing up and down here.’
    • ‘He drives a top of the range Mercedes but has not indulged himself with a fleet of the sort of flash cars favoured by some in the football world.’
    • ‘They're stylish but not too flash, and practical too!’
    • ‘It is simply the case that in this world of convenience, flash holidays and big cars, working the land has lost its appeal.’
    • ‘I know it's a bit of a cliché, but a recent survey has revealed that men apparently believe that flash cars attract women.’
    • ‘It is poor stewardship that causes a man to wear expensive watches, sport designer bags, and flash diamond rings, but then fail to pay child support.’
    • ‘He drives a flash sports car, has three tattoos and dyes his hair.’
    • ‘She needs to put things in perspective and ask herself if it really matters that he doesn't own a flash car or that he wears awful shoes.’
    • ‘But the plan backfired when the driver couldn't get the flash car to start as they left the restaurant - leaving the couple at the mercy of the paparazzi.’
    • ‘Every so often a flash car drives towards the factory.’
    • ‘She had a big flash house, probably a big flash car and loads of money in the bank.’
    • ‘The flash car finally pulled up at a very large house with lots of trees and flowers beautifully landscaped.’
    ostentatious, showy, bold, flamboyant, conspicuous, obtrusive, extravagant, expensive, pretentious
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Ostentatiously displaying one's wealth.
      ‘he's a bit flash and refers to his gold card a few times too many’
      • ‘Nicky Cole is a flash geezer from the South, but Yates is a flash geezer from the North.’
      • ‘Perhaps it's the flash git image he exudes as he turns up at yet another film premiere with a beautiful blonde on his arm.’
      • ‘It was a flash crowd, and soon our roofless concrete barn was packed with wet bodies, dancing under sheets of hard rain and the intermittent flashes of lightning.’
      • ‘I'd always known that Mark was a bit of flash git.’
      • ‘You leave a small tip and your companion thinks you're a cheapskate; a large one and she thinks you're a flash git.’
      • ‘And one could go on and on recounting what flash tourist consultants have thought up as wizard, rabbits-out-of-hats schemes to bring in the visitors.’
      • ‘They are big brash symbols of conspicuous consumption, a way for flash men and women with a lot of cash to flaunt their wealth.’
  • 2archaic Relating to the language used by criminals or prostitutes.

    • ‘Many British navy and army officers hated the 'flash language' used by convicts.’
    • ‘This is the story of an extraordinary quest by two women - one the wife of a journalist, and the other a young girl who had been sold to a flash house when she was just 10 years old.’
    • ‘Notwithstanding the editor's condescension toward these ‘second-rate’ men, he recognizes the opportunity flash language provided for disguised communication.’


  • 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’
      • ‘Organising a music festival in India and battling the Indian bureaucracy was not exactly an easy affair for this group, but they seem confident about making this more than just a flash in the pan.’
      • ‘Although it was just a flash in the pan, the goodwill involved in setting up such a festival is still commented upon favourably by scholars today.’
      • ‘It is not a flash in the pan but something that's been maintained over a long period.’
      • ‘Are they a flash in the pan, though, or are they here to stay?’
      • ‘And his form so far this season has proved that his success last year was no flash in the pan.’
      • ‘‘A lot of those bands are going to be a flash in the pan,’ he says.’
      • ‘The conference speech confirmed that he wasn't a flash in the pan.’
      • ‘Perhaps this is just another flash in the pan but I think it is significant.’
      • ‘A year ago I would have written the band off as a flash in the pan, but now I'm thinking that they've got what it takes to stick around for a while longer.’
      • ‘Experts believe the upsurge in racing throughout the county is more than a flash in the pan, with attendance figures increasing at larger and smaller meetings in Yorkshire.’
  • in (or like) a flash

    • Very quickly; immediately.

      ‘she was out of the back door in a flash’
      • ‘The weekend passes like a flash, and we return to the daily grind of college, waiting for it to come again.’
      • ‘They will sit on your rear bumper until they get a little bit of a straight road and then they are past you like a flash.’
      • ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and three hours passed in a flash.’
      • ‘The cold was fierce and I was gone like a flash to get my woolies from the car before I got a dose of hypothermia.’
      • ‘There had been ads on TV since September building up to Christmas, and it was all over in a flash.’
      • ‘I closed the door quickly and like a flash I was at the table filling my bag with the money once again.’
      • ‘Peggy was out of the car in a flash, with Mrs Griffiths following her inside.’
      • ‘You could of course buy a jar of this delicious olive paste, but home-made tapenade can be done in a flash in a food processor.’
      • ‘Let me know if there's room on the back of your truck, and I'll be there in a flash.’
      • ‘He was on to it like a flash, racing into the penalty area.’
      instantly, suddenly, abruptly, immediately, instantaneously, all of a sudden
      quickly, rapidly, swiftly, speedily, without delay
      in an instant, in a moment, in a second, in a split second, in a minute, in a trice, like a shot, straight away, in a wink, in the blink of an eye, in the twinkling of an eye, before you know it, on the double, at the speed of light, like an arrow from a bow
      in a jiffy, before you can say jack robinson, double quick, in double quick time, like lightning, like greased lightning, at warp speed
      View synonyms
  • (as) quick as a flash

    • (especially of a person's response or reaction) very quickly.

      ‘quick as a flash he was at her side’
      • ‘‘You saved the best till last,’ replies the candidate, quick as a flash.’
      • ‘Then, quick as a flash, something smashed the window and flew across the room, making her jump involuntarily.’
      • ‘As quick as a flash, Arthur jumped on one of the bikes and turned the ignition key.’
      • ‘As quick as a flash, he pulled a gun from his backpack.’
      • ‘The gray cat jumped a few good inches off the ground in surprise and ran quick as a flash into the adjoining bathroom, skidding slightly on the tiles.’
      • ‘The lights were bright, the chorus and orchestra deafening, the adrenaline pumping, the action frantic and then, as quick as a flash, it was all over.’
      • ‘She reveals she buys all her own clothes for work, ‘although I never pay full price,’ she adds, quick as a flash.’
      • ‘If they'd have let her come with us, she'd have been on that boat as quick as a flash.’
      • ‘As quick as a flash, his eyes darted to Stevie, and he said: ‘Does that mean we have to call you Gerry now?’’
      • ‘But as the ball bounced up the youngster, as quick as a flash, hooked it over his shoulder.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • flash over

    • 1Make an electric circuit by sparking across a gap.

      • ‘The theory here is that the primer flashes over the small powder charge and causes it to detonate.’
      • ‘If the voltage is high enough, the insulator flashes over causing a short circuit of the system.’
      • ‘An arc then flashes over between these electrodes 24 and 13, giving rise to ionization and pressurization.’
      1. 1.1(of a fire) spread instantly across a gap because of intense heat.
        • ‘Once the fire flashed over the side station, it quickly enveloped the deli restaurant, feeding on the combustible interior finishes and furnishings.’
        • ‘At about 4 p.m., the fire ‘flashed over’ and the buildings erupted in a mass of flame, trapping some staff on upper floors.’
        • ‘When the driver lifted the engine cover he provided the oxygen that was lacking and the fire ‘flashed over’ and spread quickly through the bus.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘splash water about’): probably imitative; compare with flush and splash.




Main definitions of flash in English

: flash1flash2



  • A water-filled hollow formed by subsidence, especially any of those due to rock salt extraction in or near Cheshire.

    ‘sandpits and flashes also attract visiting birds’
    • ‘Pennington Flash Country Park, centred on a large lake or ‘flash’ formed by mining subsidence, now provides some of the best sailing and bird-watching facilities in the region.’
    • ‘There was then a report of a flamingo at Neuman's Flash - a salt flash near Northwich in Cheshire.’
    • ‘It is a shallow subsidence flash, no more than a metre or two in depth at most.’
    • ‘When quarrying was abandoned the Flashes were left to nature.’
    • ‘The flash, or lake, is the result of mining subsidence in 1924 and a disused railway still runs through the woodland.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘a marshy place’): from Old French flache, variant of Picard and Norman dialect flaque, from Middle Dutch vlacke. The current sense dates from the late 19th century.