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’
    • ‘The bright flashes of light flickered against Nick's hopeless face.’
    • ‘The computer screen flickered and 68 results appeared on the screen.’
    • ‘Then her only source of light flickered off but did not come on again.’
    • ‘Then the bioluminescent lights flickered on and Damian was blinded by the sudden flash of light.’
    • ‘There was a pause and then fluorescent lights flickered to life.’
    • ‘Without any warning, the lights flickered then turned on brightly.’
    • ‘The sun flickered as its light shone through the branches of the trees.’
    • ‘And like the bright sun of the Caribbean the porch light flickered on.’
    • ‘The screen flickered, the file opened and I began the run through.’
    • ‘The television flickered and a vision appeared on the screen.’
    • ‘The harsh fluorescent light flickered back on and Ashley looked up at him.’
    • ‘Green and white lights flickered all up the sides of the hall.’
    • ‘In the near distance, torch light flickered through the blackness, slowly moving away from her.’
    • ‘There were no bright lights flickering on and off giving you a headache.’
    • ‘My animals would behave strangely; electric lights would flicker and flash.’
    • ‘Headlights flickered in through my open window and I sat up eagerly to peer outside.’
    • ‘Of course, the restaurant has no sign - only a red neon ‘open’ that flickers in one window.’
    • ‘At that moment a strong gust of wind rocked the Weston house, and the lights flickered and then electricity failed.’
    • ‘Above his head, rows of fluorescent lights flickered and buzzed.’
    • ‘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’
      • ‘Amy entered the dining room with a lighted candle in one hand, the flame flickering in the darkness.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I held in my hand a single black candle, it's flame flickering as my body disturbed the air around it.’
      • ‘The candle fire flickered and the shadows danced in the room.’
      • ‘The flame flickered, casting an amber glow over the room and coating it in warmth.’
      • ‘And the stars that were splashed across the sky flickered like candle flames.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘By the time she got him to the side of the road, flames were flickering.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The flames flickered in the darkness of the lower level and cast eerie shadows over the ground.’
      • ‘The dying embers of the fire flickered and he squinted to get a feel of his surroundings.’
      • ‘She crouched on the soft sand in a cave, the light of a dying fire flickering across her tan fur.’
      • ‘Small dying flames flickered on his body, and he did nothing to remove them, as if the flames were merely a mirage.’
      • ‘The candle flames flickered oddly, as if some draft was waxing and waning in time with the chanting.’
      • ‘The flame flickered and then burnt fiercely, casting a warm yellow light over the small study.’
      • ‘The immature flame of the candle flickered slightly, exposing for a moment more of the trio seated in the room.’
    2. 1.2 (of an emotion) be felt or shown briefly or faintly:
      ‘amusement flickered briefly in his eyes’
      • ‘It was in that moment that several emotions flickered across the young girl's face.’
      • ‘Anger flickered briefly in Kreed's eyes before their expression was quickly masked.’
      • ‘As Karya's emotions flickered across her face, Aidan's lips were twitching.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘An undefined emotion flickered over his features briefly before they settled back into a blank gaze.’
      • ‘A thousand painful, confusing emotions flickered through her brain all at once and she pulled away from him sharply.’
      • ‘Jamie smirked softly, watching the emotions flicker in Brian's wide blue eyes.’
      • ‘Those gathered at the gates of Longannet witnessed the despair of many, and the anger flickering briefly across some faces.’
      • ‘Either way, some inappropriate emotion may flicker across their face.’
      • ‘Faith had been watching the conflicting emotions flicker over his face.’
      • ‘Timon pressed lightly, though his dark eyes watched her face carefully as emotions flickered across it.’
      • ‘Emotions flickered across Mage's face before he once again spoke to his friend.’
      • ‘Morgan watched discreetly as different emotions flickered across her face.’
      • ‘I looked up at him and watched the emotions flicker across his face.’
      • ‘Rage briefly flickered in that imperial expression, then she seemed amused again.’
      • ‘Emotions flickered across Michelle's face as she listened to the conversation between the two brothers.’
      • ‘Not an emotion flickered across Lisa's face as she stared coolly back at the waitress.’
      • ‘Emotions briefly flickered across his blue eyes as they gazed into hers, wide and astonished.’
      • ‘Amusement flickered briefly over Stone's face before he turned his attention to the package.’
  • 2Make small, quick movements:

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

noun

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

    ‘the flicker of a candle flame caught our eyes’
    • ‘A flicker of light shone through the crack between the door and the carpet.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And then, without so much as a flicker, the light of the candle went out.’
    • ‘And there it would be, the horizon ablaze with light where the gleaming flames of candles met the distant flicker of stars.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Thundering flickers of light flashed across the late night sky, the tattle tale sign of the oncoming storm.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When the flame calmed down to a gentle flicker, I carefully lit the cigarette, breathing in slowly.’
    • ‘Abruptly, the strange, unsteady flickers of light coalesced, solidifying as a small spark of flame grew within their depths.’
    • ‘They stayed late beside its glow, a flicker of light barely visible to us through the trees.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘The flicker of tail lights passed the window as two trucks were backing into the drive.’
    • ‘Suddenly, there was an electric-arc flicker of harsh bluish light and a crackling noise from inside her closet!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He had summoned the Princess only just in time for her to see the last flicker of the flames.’
    • ‘The dark flicker's still gone, no matter where I look, replaced by the flicker of fluorescent pipe lighting above me.’
    • ‘The bright flicker of the candles lit the room and colored their cheeks as they stood before the kingdom's legion of Royal advisors.’
    1. 1.1[mass 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.
      • ‘In about a third of the homes I saw the sickly blue flicker of televisions bleeding through the curtains.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Jitter and flicker are two different phenomena, but both can drive you to distraction when you're trying to get work done.’
      • ‘The work will target the key impairments of film flicker and unsteadiness, both of which interfere substantially with viewing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The print appears to be slightly washed out with occasional flicker, affecting Kieslowski's subtle use of lighting.’
      • ‘The quality of the transfer seems fine but not outstanding, although in one scene some notable flicker appears.’
      • ‘I just lay there watching the view screen flicker in and out.’
      • ‘These are loop printing and flicker effects achieved through frenetic re-editing of the material.’
      • ‘With the exception of some minor flicker here and there, it's a solid effort.’
      • ‘I did notice some scratches and odd patches of flicker, but otherwise Warner outdid themselves on the transfer.’
      • ‘You get a smoother image with less flicker and scan lines are hardly noticeable.’
      • ‘Even more detail can be included in the same amount of time, resulting in pictures with less flicker.’
      • ‘Movies do something similar through lighting, framing and the subliminal flicker of film itself.’
      • ‘In these films, even video flicker becomes substance.’
      • ‘Aside from some flicker during the opening credit sequence, there is nothing to detract from the haunting visuals of the film.’
      • ‘I saw no apparent bad pixels, interlace flicker, or LCD display streaking.’
      • ‘Restored in 1999, the film holds up well, apart from a bit of flicker in spots.’
      • ‘The picture is also dark, hazy, dirty, murky, and marred by shimmering and flicker.’
  • 2A tiny movement:

    ‘the flicker of an eyelid’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He gave a thumbs-up and saw a flicker of movement from the shadows.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A flicker of movement, about a hundred yards from the gate suddenly drawing his attention.’
    • ‘He saw a flicker of movement in the trees, and he climbed forward quietly, creeping up on Devoss.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I stop for a moment and I see a flicker of movement.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I saw a flicker of movement from the shadowy hall.’
    • ‘Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a flicker of movement.’
    • ‘Again, as in the other dream, she saw a flicker of movement, but this time she followed it.’
    • ‘There was a flicker of movement at the corner of my eye, and I threw myself to the side instinctively.’
    • ‘He caught a flicker of movement off to his right and vaguely heard the soft sounds of a small stream.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Near the mistline a flicker of movement in the uppermost section of waterfall caught our attention.’
    • ‘In a patient with an Achilles rupture, only a flicker of movement on the pressure gauge is discernible with dorsiflexion.’
    • ‘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 at the corner of his eye drew his attention away, and Seira tore his gaze away.’
    1. 2.1 A brief feeling or indication of emotion:
      ‘a flicker of a smile passed across her face’
      • ‘You get small flickers of different emotions playing in our golden playboy's eyes so he's not stone cold after all.’
      • ‘No flicker of emotion showed on the lifeguard's face.’
      • ‘However, no flicker of emotion passed over his face as he - mentally - glared.’
      • ‘But the faintest flicker of a smile made him seem approachable and loveable in a sorrowful way.’
      • ‘With an emotionless flicker of a smile, Fiera gave Snug a gentle squeeze.’
      • ‘Every gesture of this mime can be watched with delight, and every flicker of emotion across his expressive face.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I watched emotion flicker across his face, but then his eyes hid behind the mask I'm so used to seeing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Mr Wilkinson eyes me thoughtfully and I see some hidden emotion flicker in his eyes.’
      • ‘She was glad that a faint flicker of guilt passed over Ella's features, but it vanished as quickly as it had appeared.’
      • ‘She licked her lips and he let a brief flicker of disgust cross his face, rolling his eyes and turning away.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Areal watched her friend walk off, and then a flicker of emotions came over Dido's face when she turned to look at him.’
      • ‘For a brief moment, a flicker of the old, frightened Clarice Bridger made its way across Liral's face.’
      • ‘There's a flicker of a smile on his lips, so he probably means a hacienda with vineyards and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.’
      • ‘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.’

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.

    • ‘In late fall, there are red-shafted flickers, hairy woodpeckers, finches, chickadees, nuthatches, and, of course, jays.’
    • ‘House wrens and chickadees compete for cankerworms and caterpillars; wood ducks, gray squirrels, flickers, and screech owls fight for the same nesting sites.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Unlike most woodpeckers, flickers spend a lot of time on the ground probing for ants.’
    • ‘We also saw more juncos, kinglets, flickers, and siskin.’
    • ‘Woodpeckers, flickers, chickadees and nuthatches are among the many species that benefit from it.’
    • ‘The preserve, wild with birdsong, was thick with robins, flickers, grackles, blackbirds, catbirds, and doves.’
    • ‘The fact that flickers did not defend feeding territories suggests that characteristics of their prey make it uneconomical to monopolize.’
    • ‘Jays always initiated flock movement and, unlike other woodpeckers, flickers almost always followed the jay flocks when they moved.’

Origin

Early 19th century: imitative of its call.

Pronunciation

flicker

/ˈflɪkə/