Main definitions of flicker in English

: flicker1flicker2

flicker1

verb

[no object]
  • 1(of light or a source of light) shine unsteadily; vary rapidly in brightness.

    ‘the interior lights flickered, and came on’
    • ‘Green and white lights flickered all up the sides of the hall.’
    • ‘The harsh fluorescent light flickered back on and Ashley looked up at him.’
    • ‘The screen flickered, the file opened and I began the run through.’
    • ‘My animals would behave strangely; electric lights would flicker and flash.’
    • ‘There were no bright lights flickering on and off giving you a headache.’
    • ‘At that moment a strong gust of wind rocked the Weston house, and the lights flickered and then electricity failed.’
    • ‘The bright flashes of light flickered against Nick's hopeless face.’
    • ‘Above his head, rows of fluorescent lights flickered and buzzed.’
    • ‘The television flickered and a vision appeared on the screen.’
    • ‘And like the bright sun of the Caribbean the porch light flickered on.’
    • ‘Of course, the restaurant has no sign - only a red neon ‘open’ that flickers in one window.’
    • ‘Without any warning, the lights flickered then turned on brightly.’
    • ‘In the near distance, torch light flickered through the blackness, slowly moving away from her.’
    • ‘There was a pause and then fluorescent lights flickered to life.’
    • ‘Then the bioluminescent lights flickered on and Damian was blinded by the sudden flash of light.’
    • ‘The sun flickered as its light shone through the branches of the trees.’
    • ‘Then her only source of light flickered off but did not come on again.’
    • ‘Headlights flickered in through my open window and I sat up eagerly to peer outside.’
    • ‘The computer screen flickered and 68 results appeared on the screen.’
    • ‘A bright light flickered from the other side of the window and firecrackers popped all over the room.’
    glimmer, glint, gleam, flare, shine, dance, gutter
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a flame) burn fitfully, alternately flaring up and dying down.
      ‘the candle flickered again’
      ‘the flickering flames cast long shadows’
      • ‘She crouched on the soft sand in a cave, the light of a dying fire flickering across her tan fur.’
      • ‘The flames flickered in the darkness of the lower level and cast eerie shadows over the ground.’
      • ‘Once the lights were dimmed, the view from the stage was pitch-black save for the pinpoints of candle flames flickering in the dark.’
      • ‘Nick's eyes burned, small flames flickering within his pupils.’
      • ‘The music sways like a candle flame flickering in the breeze; it can fade, almost dying altogether, then it suddenly soars high and true.’
      • ‘Small dying flames flickered on his body, and he did nothing to remove them, as if the flames were merely a mirage.’
      • ‘But the troubles caused by that truth cause the candle's flame to flicker slightly from time to time.’
      • ‘Alicia had placed a group of advent candles on the windowsill and their flames were flickering merrily against the backdrop of the night.’
      • ‘It had only been a few minutes earlier that a flame had flickered into life inside a linen cupboard on the top floor, but already the corridor was filled with smoke.’
      • ‘The immature flame of the candle flickered slightly, exposing for a moment more of the trio seated in the room.’
      • ‘By the time she got him to the side of the road, flames were flickering.’
      • ‘And the stars that were splashed across the sky flickered like candle flames.’
      • ‘It is promised that he shall enjoy its treasures, and so he does for a short time, before the flames flicker upon him in turn.’
      • ‘The flame flickered and then burnt fiercely, casting a warm yellow light over the small study.’
      • ‘The candle fire flickered and the shadows danced in the room.’
      • ‘The dying embers of the fire flickered and he squinted to get a feel of his surroundings.’
      • ‘Amy entered the dining room with a lighted candle in one hand, the flame flickering in the darkness.’
      • ‘The flame flickered, casting an amber glow over the room and coating it in warmth.’
      • ‘The candle flames flickered oddly, as if some draft was waxing and waning in time with the chanting.’
      • ‘I held in my hand a single black candle, it's flame flickering as my body disturbed the air around it.’
    2. 1.2 (of an emotion) be felt or shown briefly or faintly.
      ‘amusement flickered briefly in his eyes’
      • ‘Either way, some inappropriate emotion may flicker across their face.’
      • ‘Those gathered at the gates of Longannet witnessed the despair of many, and the anger flickering briefly across some faces.’
      • ‘I looked up at him and watched the emotions flicker across his face.’
      • ‘Not an emotion flickered across Lisa's face as she stared coolly back at the waitress.’
      • ‘Timon pressed lightly, though his dark eyes watched her face carefully as emotions flickered across it.’
      • ‘Emotions briefly flickered across his blue eyes as they gazed into hers, wide and astonished.’
      • ‘Jamie smirked softly, watching the emotions flicker in Brian's wide blue eyes.’
      • ‘A thousand painful, confusing emotions flickered through her brain all at once and she pulled away from him sharply.’
      • ‘He shook off the feeling immediately and said quietly, the whole time carefully watching the emotions flickering across her face.’
      • ‘I watched the emotions flicker across his face, like a rainbow in a spray of water.’
      • ‘Faith had been watching the conflicting emotions flicker over his face.’
      • ‘Emotions flickered across Michelle's face as she listened to the conversation between the two brothers.’
      • ‘Emotions flickered across Mage's face before he once again spoke to his friend.’
      • ‘As Karya's emotions flickered across her face, Aidan's lips were twitching.’
      • ‘An undefined emotion flickered over his features briefly before they settled back into a blank gaze.’
      • ‘Morgan watched discreetly as different emotions flickered across her face.’
      • ‘Amusement flickered briefly over Stone's face before he turned his attention to the package.’
      • ‘Anger flickered briefly in Kreed's eyes before their expression was quickly masked.’
      • ‘Rage briefly flickered in that imperial expression, then she seemed amused again.’
      • ‘It was in that moment that several emotions flickered across the young girl's face.’
  • 2Make small, quick movements.

    ‘her eyelids flickered’
    with complement ‘Forster's eyes flickered open’
    • ‘Actually, what you see is a barrage of dots, which flicker, and it is up to my head movement to be able to make a shape out of that.’
    • ‘The figures of the guitarists are immobile, and so inscrutable are their veiled faces that almost the only stage movement is their hands flickering across the fretboards.’
    • ‘The queue screen flickered: five counters open, then four, then three.’
    • ‘She slowly fell back into Trev's arms, her eyelids flickering gently.’
    • ‘Apples' eyelashes flickered open slowly before her big gray eyes struggled to adjust to the darkness of the jungle around her.’
    • ‘After several moments, Karae's eyelids flickered and opened a tiny bit.’
    • ‘Saka's eyelids flickered, then popped open to reveal cerulean eyes with no pupils that Ayane could see.’
    • ‘Before he left, he gave me a quick wink, his eyelid barely flickering.’
    • ‘Her eyelids were flickering, as though she was coming out of sleep, but she had not quite yet gotten there.’
    • ‘The two noticed that Kari was shifting her body, and her eyelids were flickering.’
    • ‘If your eyelids flickered, he'd sit up waiting for some indication that it wouldn't be long before the first long stroll of the day.’
    • ‘She flickered her eyelids open groggily and stifled a yawn.’
    • ‘His syncopated, rapid-fire freestyle flickers between abstract movements and pantomime, but he never loses the beat.’
    • ‘As they chattered a small striped viper squirmed on top of the map with tongue flickering from open fangs.’
    • ‘My eyelids flickered open and revealed Jack on a chair next to my bed.’
    • ‘Her eyelids flickered, and soon fatigue took over, and she gave in to sleep.’
    • ‘Teresa began to thrash around in Alistairs arms, her eyelids still flickering.’
    • ‘I felt like bursting when her eyelids flickered ever so slightly.’
    • ‘The night music of the third movement flickered with spectral glissandos and eerie harmonics.’
    • ‘His eyelids flickered as he struggled to regain control of his body.’
    flutter, quiver, vibrate, tremble, wobble, shiver, shudder, spasm, jerk, twitch, bat, flap, wink, blink, open and shut
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with adverbial of direction (of someone's eyes) move quickly in a particular direction in order to look at something.
      ‘her alert hazel eyes flickered around the room’
      • ‘His mind ranged restlessly, his eyes flickered across the room.’
      • ‘His eyes flickered around the room, seeing armed guards standing around the group on the bed, spears pointed at them.’
      • ‘Her iridescently colored eyes flickered in the direction of the voice, soon followed by a warm smile as she looked to Raek.’
      • ‘His eyes flickered in her direction, then focused back on Malloy.’
      • ‘My eyes flickered across the room until I found a dark figure crouching on the ground.’
      • ‘Kayla's eyes flickered across the room and it was indeed a very grand and well kept room.’
      • ‘Sipping it sparingly, my golden eyes flickered in his direction and then away.’
      • ‘The other girl walked up to Raven and her hazel eyes flickered to me for a second.’
      • ‘I saw his eyes flicker in the direction of the instruments.’
      • ‘The woman smiled, her eyes flickering in Adrianna's direction and then back at the Gypsy Princess.’
      • ‘His eyes flickered to the other room, knowing they were listening.’
      • ‘He seemed quite interested, but I watched his eyes flicker quickly back to Willow.’
      • ‘Her eyes did flicker my way, but quickly returned to their place.’
      • ‘Gwen declined to comment, though her eyes flickered over the entire room, and what could be seen of the bedroom as she entered.’
      • ‘The man's eyes flickered across the room, coming to rest on Sally.’
      • ‘Tory's eyes flickered around the room as she tried to avoid looking at anyone.’
      • ‘When his green eyes flickered toward mine, I quickly turned away and felt blood rush to my face.’
      • ‘Leah's eyes flickered to him quickly, a smile tugging at her lips, before she looked back to her book.’
      • ‘She joined in a conversation, her eyes flickering in the direction of the room doors.’
      • ‘Phoenix stood slowly and walked toward Anjiru his eyes flickered in her direction a moment.’

noun

  • 1An unsteady movement of a flame or light causing rapid variations in brightness.

    ‘the flicker of a candle flame caught our eyes’
    • ‘Suddenly, there was an electric-arc flicker of harsh bluish light and a crackling noise from inside her closet!’
    • ‘He had summoned the Princess only just in time for her to see the last flicker of the flames.’
    • ‘Abruptly, the strange, unsteady flickers of light coalesced, solidifying as a small spark of flame grew within their depths.’
    • ‘And there it would be, the horizon ablaze with light where the gleaming flames of candles met the distant flicker of stars.’
    • ‘There was a flicker of white light, and Angel was watching himself on a rooftop, with a rock in his hand, smashing the Ring of Amarra.’
    • ‘The bright flicker of the candles lit the room and colored their cheeks as they stood before the kingdom's legion of Royal advisors.’
    • ‘When the flame calmed down to a gentle flicker, I carefully lit the cigarette, breathing in slowly.’
    • ‘The dark flicker's still gone, no matter where I look, replaced by the flicker of fluorescent pipe lighting above me.’
    • ‘And then, without so much as a flicker, the light of the candle went out.’
    • ‘The Americans placed their own snipers in buildings across the road, in the hope that a muzzle flash or a flicker of light or shadow would betray the enemy's position.’
    • ‘The flicker of tail lights passed the window as two trucks were backing into the drive.’
    • ‘To the untrained eye, their movements were only highlighted by the flickers of light that emanated from their swords, but Geoff's eyes could make out each move that they were executing.’
    • ‘All you manage to see is a little flicker of light, following by a throaty rumble of thunder.’
    • ‘As flickers of light illuminate the whole great space, the choir begins to sing: Surrexit Christus, ‘Christ Is Risen.’’
    • ‘There was a sudden flicker of light, so blindingly bright that Cinaed had to turn away and close his eyes tightly for a few moments, until it faded.’
    • ‘They stayed late beside its glow, a flicker of light barely visible to us through the trees.’
    • ‘But when the guy finally came and he just removed some pins there was a flicker of light and I felt this surge of exuberance.’
    • ‘It is completely dark, not a flicker of light to guide you, so you walk and, with your right hand, feel along the wall trying to find the key to Buddha.’
    • ‘A flicker of light shone through the crack between the door and the carpet.’
    • ‘Thundering flickers of light flashed across the late night sky, the tattle tale sign of the oncoming storm.’
    1. 1.1mass noun Fluctuations in the brightness of a film or television image such as occur when the number of frames per second is too small for persistence of vision.
      • ‘The print appears to be slightly washed out with occasional flicker, affecting Kieslowski's subtle use of lighting.’
      • ‘The only flaws I could detect was, at one point in the middle, a scene had some flicker in contrast levels, but this went away never to return.’
      • ‘The picture is also dark, hazy, dirty, murky, and marred by shimmering and flicker.’
      • ‘In these films, even video flicker becomes substance.’
      • ‘In about a third of the homes I saw the sickly blue flicker of televisions bleeding through the curtains.’
      • ‘You get a smoother image with less flicker and scan lines are hardly noticeable.’
      • ‘The quality of the transfer seems fine but not outstanding, although in one scene some notable flicker appears.’
      • ‘With the exception of some minor flicker here and there, it's a solid effort.’
      • ‘Aside from some flicker during the opening credit sequence, there is nothing to detract from the haunting visuals of the film.’
      • ‘If you work with a computer, the right monitor is important, as flicker and poor image quality can cause eye strain and fatigue.’
      • ‘Some occasional flicker in solid-color areas was noted, but the effect lasted only a short time.’
      • ‘Restored in 1999, the film holds up well, apart from a bit of flicker in spots.’
      • ‘These are loop printing and flicker effects achieved through frenetic re-editing of the material.’
      • ‘I did notice some scratches and odd patches of flicker, but otherwise Warner outdid themselves on the transfer.’
      • ‘Movies do something similar through lighting, framing and the subliminal flicker of film itself.’
      • ‘Jitter and flicker are two different phenomena, but both can drive you to distraction when you're trying to get work done.’
      • ‘I just lay there watching the view screen flicker in and out.’
      • ‘Even more detail can be included in the same amount of time, resulting in pictures with less flicker.’
      • ‘The work will target the key impairments of film flicker and unsteadiness, both of which interfere substantially with viewing.’
      • ‘I saw no apparent bad pixels, interlace flicker, or LCD display streaking.’
  • 2A tiny movement.

    ‘the flicker of an eyelid’
    • ‘Ebony could see a dark flicker of movement outside, and a moment later the door opened and a man walked into the room.’
    • ‘A flicker of movement to the right caught his eye and he saw the guard slowly approach, sauntering down the hall without a care in the world.’
    • ‘He caught a flicker of movement off to his right and vaguely heard the soft sounds of a small stream.’
    • ‘Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a flicker of movement.’
    • ‘I blew a mist out into the air and absently thought of the chances for it to snow when I thought I saw a flicker of movement to my side.’
    • ‘A flicker of movement, about a hundred yards from the gate suddenly drawing his attention.’
    • ‘He gave a thumbs-up and saw a flicker of movement from the shadows.’
    • ‘There was a flicker of movement at the corner of my eye, and I threw myself to the side instinctively.’
    • ‘He saw a flicker of movement in the trees, and he climbed forward quietly, creeping up on Devoss.’
    • ‘I saw a flicker of movement from the shadowy hall.’
    • ‘With few lines, his performance is a lesson in how to express internal anguish with little in the way of verbiage and barely a flicker of movement.’
    • ‘Doune glanced up at the sign of a flicker of movement above him.’
    • ‘She thought she caught a flicker of movement out of the corner of her eye and turned to peer intently that way.’
    • ‘Near the mistline a flicker of movement in the uppermost section of waterfall caught our attention.’
    • ‘As I walked behind him, he turned and faced me, and at that moment I turned my head at a flicker of movement coming from the corner of the house.’
    • ‘In a patient with an Achilles rupture, only a flicker of movement on the pressure gauge is discernible with dorsiflexion.’
    • ‘I stop for a moment and I see a flicker of movement.’
    • ‘A flicker of movement at the corner of his eye drew his attention away, and Seira tore his gaze away.’
    • ‘She kept low and watched the wagons disappear, but a flicker of movement caught her eye and she turned her head in time to see a red spider logo on the back of a jacket.’
    • ‘Again, as in the other dream, she saw a flicker of movement, but this time she followed it.’
    1. 2.1 A brief feeling or indication of emotion.
      ‘a flicker of a smile passed across her face’
      • ‘With an emotionless flicker of a smile, Fiera gave Snug a gentle squeeze.’
      • ‘He gave no indication of her staring, no flicker of emotion, just a bare hint of amusement in his lips, then it was gone.’
      • ‘But Clark sees something change in his eyes, some infinitesimal flicker of emotion.’
      • ‘With feral satisfaction she saw the brief flicker of wariness in her enemy's stance - and for good reason.’
      • ‘But the only hate we feel will be a brief flicker at ourselves, for letting you make us so angry today.’
      • ‘However, no flicker of emotion passed over his face as he - mentally - glared.’
      • ‘Even so, the artist's disparate styles of portrait and cartoon clash with only a flicker of emotional spark.’
      • ‘You get small flickers of different emotions playing in our golden playboy's eyes so he's not stone cold after all.’
      • ‘She licked her lips and he let a brief flicker of disgust cross his face, rolling his eyes and turning away.’
      • ‘For the few seconds she stared into my eyes I saw something flicker, a brief flicker of pain that was gone before I could ask.’
      • ‘And yet there was something that emerged from this town that reverberated around the world, a brief flicker of recognition of what it really means to be human.’
      • ‘His face did not alter, but a brief flicker of pride and amusement danced in the Duke's eye as he glanced down at the lady's protruding stomach.’
      • ‘The Princess's reaction was typically stony as judgment was handed down, betraying not a flicker of emotion.’
      • ‘But the faintest flicker of a smile made him seem approachable and loveable in a sorrowful way.’
      • ‘Her father gave her to Yuugi, who accepted her hand, but didn't show any flicker of emotion or anything else.’
      • ‘The brief flicker of humanity that was revealed when the minister allowed Kunle back into the country demands that he does the same thing with this case.’
      • ‘They'd only stared at each other for a moment before he looked away and closed the last curtain, but Misha had been certain a flicker of emotion had crossed his face.’
      • ‘No flicker of emotion showed on the lifeguard's face.’
      • ‘You find it in the expressions on his face while he sleeps, the way he stretches as he wakes and the flicker of a smile he gives you every so often.’
      • ‘He does precious little with the text, however, registering not so much as a flicker of emotional anguish.’
      • ‘For a brief moment, a flicker of the old, frightened Clarice Bridger made its way across Liral's face.’
      • ‘I see her in every beautiful woman, in every danger that threatens to overtake me, in every heartbeat, every flicker of emotion.’
      • ‘I actually went into a Zen state beyond boredom, in that for patches it was so boring I experienced a flicker of interest - in how boring it was.’
      • ‘After a brief flicker of excitement, the game has descended into monotony again.’
      • ‘Every gesture of this mime can be watched with delight, and every flicker of emotion across his expressive face.’
      • ‘They are not merely unthinking savages: even in Goethe we have the faintest flicker of humanity.’
      • ‘There's a flicker of a smile on his lips, so he probably means a hacienda with vineyards and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.’
      • ‘Mr Wilkinson eyes me thoughtfully and I see some hidden emotion flicker in his eyes.’
      • ‘He sighed, and as I turned to face him, I saw a brief flicker of rage cross his face.’
      • ‘Areal watched her friend walk off, and then a flicker of emotions came over Dido's face when she turned to look at him.’
      • ‘She was glad that a faint flicker of guilt passed over Ella's features, but it vanished as quickly as it had appeared.’
      • ‘I watched emotion flicker across his face, but then his eyes hid behind the mask I'm so used to seeing.’
      • ‘For a brief moment, a flicker of desire flashed across his face, then was gone as quickly as it had appeared.’
      • ‘I have to wonder that when a brief flicker of sanity hits me.’
      • ‘Bam was close to me again and there was a faint flicker of hope.’
      • ‘In the final years of her illness she showed no recognition or flicker of emotional attachment - yet her loyal husband refused to leave her side until she finally passed away.’
      • ‘He just looked down at her for a moment and she thought she saw some kind of emotion flicker in and out of his eyes.’
      • ‘A short while earlier in the car park, in those few precious seconds when he had stood out in the open next to Emma, he had allowed himself to feel a faint flicker of optimism.’

Origin

Old English flicorian, flycerian ‘to flutter’, probably of Germanic origin and related to Low German flickern and Dutch flikkeren.

Pronunciation

flicker

/ˈflɪkə/

Main definitions of flicker in English

: flicker1flicker2

flicker2

noun

  • An American woodpecker that often feeds on ants on the ground.

    Genus Colaptes, family Picidae: several species, in particular the common (or northern) flicker (C. auratus)

    • ‘Unlike most woodpeckers, flickers spend a lot of time on the ground probing for ants.’
    • ‘Pigeons are predominant, but, as you explore, you see sparrows and bluebirds and flickers and blue jays and wrens and kestrels and starlings and robins.’
    • ‘When trees die, the Crouches leave them standing so that birds such as flickers and chickadees can feed on the insects that invade the dead wood.’
    • ‘Woodpeckers, flickers, chickadees and nuthatches are among the many species that benefit from it.’
    • ‘Jays always initiated flock movement and, unlike other woodpeckers, flickers almost always followed the jay flocks when they moved.’
    • ‘The preserve, wild with birdsong, was thick with robins, flickers, grackles, blackbirds, catbirds, and doves.’
    • ‘House wrens and chickadees compete for cankerworms and caterpillars; wood ducks, gray squirrels, flickers, and screech owls fight for the same nesting sites.’
    • ‘We also saw more juncos, kinglets, flickers, and siskin.’
    • ‘In late fall, there are red-shafted flickers, hairy woodpeckers, finches, chickadees, nuthatches, and, of course, jays.’
    • ‘The fact that flickers did not defend feeding territories suggests that characteristics of their prey make it uneconomical to monopolize.’

Origin

Early 19th century: imitative of its call.

Pronunciation

flicker

/ˈflɪkə/