Definition of flare in English:



  • 1A sudden brief burst of bright flame or light.

    ‘the flare of the match lit up his face’
    • ‘A sudden flare of white light had the Paladin scrambling for his sword as a shadowed form draped in a cowl and cloak rose from the lake, mistily transparent.’
    • ‘He was abruptly cut off as a brief flare of red light flickered around Lexa.’
    • ‘His big eyes glinted with a sudden flare of light and Teera turned to see the camp going up in flames.’
    • ‘Keigen tried to find his friend in the dark, until a flare of light burst into flame beside him.’
    • ‘She flinched away from a flare of white light, which slowly resolved itself into her bedroom.’
    • ‘A sudden flare of light caused her to raise her right arm protectively across her face.’
    • ‘In the brief flare, I could see the scared faces of those around me.’
    • ‘A flare of lightning lit the dark sky to a bright lavender, then darkness ruled again.’
    • ‘Jonah desperately thumbed the lighter's switch one last time, and he was rewarded with a sudden flare of light.’
    • ‘With each word her eyes turned bluer, and as she finished a flare of cerulean light blazed through my vision.’
    • ‘In addition, however, it has repeatedly witnessed a sky flickering with ultraviolet flares, bursts and fast-moving streaks.’
    • ‘The shadow warship exploded in a brilliant flare of yellow, orange, and white.’
    • ‘The flares of light became more and more frequent, until they were solid.’
    • ‘The brief flare of light showed him short hair, thin but not angular face, and dark eyes.’
    • ‘Then comes the sudden flare of light from a thousand torches.’
    • ‘She blinked for a moment against the bright flare of lights that exploded in her eyes, and waited for it to clear.’
    • ‘Amber reacted, her own light flashing brighter, a flare of red.’
    • ‘There was a brief flare of white light, and the Goddess vanished, leaving only a smattering of loose tinsel behind.’
    • ‘I remember looking at him there, that shadowy figure sitting cross-legged on that cushion with his peaked ears twitching, his eyes flashing like a brief flare of sun off oil on water.’
    • ‘A narrow doorway of an old house - a dark room - then a sudden flare of video lights, like a flash of lightning.’
    blaze, flash, dazzle, glare, burst
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    1. 1.1A device producing a bright flame, used especially as a signal or marker.
      ‘a helicopter spotted a flare set off by the crew’
      [as modifier] ‘a flare gun’
      • ‘Then, a flare shot up and signaled that the operation was to begin.’
      • ‘Mr Long said in the past refuse collectors had found live gun cartridges and a distress flare among rubbish left out for them.’
      • ‘Signaling measures have included flare guns, cell phones, hand gestures, and other communicative means.’
      • ‘A lost hunter with a flare gun, so goes the story, started the whole thing.’
      • ‘If I had flares or some other signaling device, I might have been able to get help and medical attention to him sooner, without having to do something risky like blocking traffic.’
      • ‘However, it is known that military aircraft using the countermeasures tend to eject lots of flares, just to be on the safe side.’
      • ‘It's not a bad idea to include signaling devices such as mirrors, flares, etc., whether you are in a remote location or not!’
      • ‘I walked over to the door, opened it a crack, and stuck my hand out holding the flare gun.’
      • ‘Aruna pulled out a flare gun, and fired it up into the sky.’
      • ‘Fury ran up the mountain, then turned and launched a flare, her signal to begin.’
      • ‘One of their missions was to fire illumination flares to aid commercial and military aircraft that were forced to ditch at sea.’
      • ‘Another pulse of adrenaline shot through her, though it was a wonder she had any left after the past occurrences, and Sydney closed her eyes and aimed the flare gun into the sky.’
      • ‘One by one the marker flares went out, swallowed by the approaching mass.’
      • ‘But by the time he got there the intruder had gone, stealing a number of items including a flare gun.’
      • ‘Without these mittens, I would not have been able to even open the zipper on my survival vest, let alone try to work a flare or other signaling device.’
      • ‘I stumbled to the opening in the suit and pulled out one of the signal flares.’
      • ‘The weapons, imported from eastern Europe, have been adapted from a miniature distress flare gun and can hold two bullets.’
      • ‘It can serve as a shotgun, an accurate big bore rifle, a handgun, and even as a flare gun.’
      • ‘Attacks signaled by flares and coordinated remote mine attacks are not taught in training camps, but in military schools.’
      • ‘Throughout the next four hours, we lit several smoke and flare signals, but the smoke dissipated each time in the trees before rising high enough to be effective.’
      distress signal, rocket, very light, beacon, light, flashlight, signal
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    2. 1.2[in singular]A sudden burst of intense emotion.
      ‘she felt a flare of anger within her’
      • ‘As if she were sure I was to be punished, Rayne thought with a flare of anger.’
      • ‘He spoke, in a very businesslike tone, the sudden flare of anger gone from his voice and attitude.’
      • ‘His eyes widened a moment, a flare of sudden overwhelming emotion to which he could only stutter.’
      • ‘I feel his lips curve into a smirk against my cheek and a flare of anger ignites within me.’
      • ‘A faint flare of anger had risen up in me, but I quickly extinguished the blaze.’
      • ‘A small flare of obstinate anger reared up in her.’
      • ‘She looks away, ashamed of being seen with Robbie and a small flare of anger was burning in her heart.’
      • ‘She felt a flare of anger at this, but didn't respond.’
      • ‘I hope he chokes on it, she thought, her fear being overcome by a flare of anger.’
      • ‘Another flare of anger, that vanished almost immediately as I continued to avoid eye contact.’
      • ‘Dale felt a sudden flare of protectiveness, possessive anger, and a father's pride.’
      • ‘With a flare of anger, he saw the pistol from his father's three-part collection, its dragon carving and sapphire eye unique among the display.’
      • ‘She saw another soldier join the battle, and felt a flare of anger.’
      • ‘Turning about, Jeremy felt a flare of anger as he saw the words on the wall at the head of the bed.’
      • ‘He was only reading it to inspire a flare of anger.’
      • ‘She felt a flare of emotion in her chest, but forced that down too - distraction was not needed.’
      • ‘Ronnie felt a flare of anger spring up and he clenched his hands into fists, shooting a glare at Jessica.’
      • ‘A flare of anger rose in the governess' chest.’
      • ‘For some reason, this sent a flare of anger up in Jade, and she shoved him away and stood up, glaring at him.’
      • ‘Something about his mild responses caused a flare of anger with Anne.’
      burst, rush, attack, eruption, explosion, bout, spasm
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    3. 1.3Astronomy A sudden explosion in the chromosphere and corona of the sun or another star, resulting in an intense burst of radiation.
      See also solar flare
      • ‘Scientists are still figuring out the role of sunspots in space weather, but they do know that when a flare erupts, sunspots are often nearby.’
      • ‘Four minutes after the onset of the big flare, the Harvard Radio Astronomy Station at Fort Davis, Texas, began hearing radio noise from the Sun.’
      • ‘Massive solar explosions called flares often accompany coronal mass ejections, which emit solar material and a magnetic field.’
      • ‘Note the white bands buried amid the black and gray sunspots, depicting the twin bands of the flare as it burst into view around the sunspots.’
      • ‘Violent events such as stellar flares, supernovae and the explosion of galactic nuclei produce a concoction of subatomic particles, primarily protons and electrons.’
    4. 1.4Photography Extraneous illumination on film caused by internal reflection in the camera.
      • ‘Prime lenses are less susceptible to lens flare and also have a closer minimum focusing distance than do zooms.’
      • ‘It is however very prone to lens flare - the lens hood basically can be no larger than a hood for a 150 mm lens.’
      • ‘I don't think we're seeing the effects of flare on the camera, though - it doesn't look like an optical effect.’
      • ‘No Dogma film contains muck on the lens, intrusive lens flare, obvious boom and camera shadows, as this does.’
      • ‘Light of this type can often cause lens flare and, if using auto focus, cause the camera to focus on the wrong subject.’
  • 2[in singular] A gradual widening, especially of a skirt or pants.

    ‘as you knit, add a flare or curve a hem’
    • ‘No trousers with flares here; instead the cut was close fitting.’
    • ‘It is loose cut through the leg, with a slight flare to add shape.’
    • ‘I could actually feel the volume of the bass, and it seemed to me the flares of my trousers were flapping with every beat.’
    • ‘The cashmere and leather were also cut into low-waisted, flat-fronted trousers cut neatly on the leg and swinging into a subtle, flattering flare at the bottom.’
    widening, spread
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    1. 2.1An upward and outward curve of a vessel's bow, designed to throw the water outward when under way.


  • 1Burn with a sudden intensity.

    ‘the blaze across the water flared’
    ‘the bonfire crackled and flared up’
    • ‘The flames flared and he climbed back into car, and drove away.’
    • ‘As a breeze swept over the rubble, patches of flame flared here and there.’
    • ‘Rilleta leaped lightly clear, and turned, flames flaring on her hands, ready to meet her death if she must.’
    • ‘A sudden rush of red-gold flame flared in the corner, and Rakael spoke.’
    • ‘I saw the stars burn and flare against the velvety darkness.’
    • ‘On the horizon I can see great columns of smoke from burning wells, orange flame flaring at their base.’
    • ‘Witnesses described the screams of panicked residents and said people leapt from windows as the blaze flared through the entrance hall of the building.’
    • ‘The spell died quickly, emerald flames flaring for a moment, then dissolving into nothing.’
    • ‘Heart turned at a sudden crackle and watched as the demonic blades flared and burned, leaving not even scorches where they had fallen.’
    • ‘The flames on his log flared higher, showering sparks all over his body - the same body covered with mead.’
    • ‘The maroon flames also rose and flared, before dying in a matter of seconds into a small pile of ashes.’
    • ‘The torches flared upon the walls, and the firepit blazed forth its red warmth.’
    • ‘As the sand hit it, the flame flared into angry whiteness and went out with a shower of sparks.’
    • ‘Some residents jumped from windows as the blaze flared through the building's entrance.’
    • ‘The ripples she had created by dipping her fingers caused the flame to flare and flicker.’
    • ‘The thief absently watched the flames flaring around her, hearing her own harsh breathing echo around her over the crackle of the flames.’
    burn, blaze, be ablaze, be alight, be on fire, be in flames, flame, be aflame
    blaze, flash, flare up, flame, burn unsteadily, burn violently, burn up
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    1. 1.1(of a light or a person's eyes) glow with a sudden intensity.
      ‘her eyes flared at the stinging insult’
      • ‘Then Peter's eyes flared silver and Katherine squealed and pulled back.’
      • ‘He had seen the surprise in her eyes when the red light had flared.’
      • ‘Her other hand was grabbed by Samantha and her eyes were flaring.’
      • ‘Light flared as the candle affixed to one wall lit with a twitch of his power.’
      • ‘Jen stopped next to the blond, her eyes flaring.’
      • ‘Eric had backed him up against the wall in the hallway, his eyes flaring.’
      • ‘She spun around, daggers ready and eyes flaring.’
      • ‘He blew around the corner, eyes flaring, whip whistling.’
      • ‘She looked up at him and her eyes flared with a golden light.’
      • ‘Her eyes flared like starlight, and a spirited fire crackled within her soul.’
      • ‘His eyes flared brilliantly, casting a silver light around the room.’
      • ‘He looked at her, eyes flaring, and then closed them.’
      • ‘Cassandra purred, her eyes flaring to life and glowing a soft red in the semi-darkness, from behind the netting of her hat.’
      • ‘The soft silver glow in Drake's eyes flared for a moment, then died back down.’
      • ‘Juniper's smile returned, her eyes flaring like a cat's.’
      • ‘Its red eyes flared, until they were luminous lanterns of broiling crimson light.’
      • ‘Her eyes were flaring with the wild untamed fire of her spirit.’
      • ‘Whipping around, she glared at me with her eyes flaring.’
      • ‘He's door flew open, and there he stood, eyes flaring, glaring at me.’
      • ‘I ran my nails down his back and his eyes flared in the light of the moon.’
    2. 1.2(of an emotion) suddenly become manifest in a person or their expression.
      ‘alarm flared in her eyes’
      ‘tempers flared’
      • ‘All the anger that had flared seconds ago had been extinguished and now I could feel unshed tears burn the corner of my eyes.’
      • ‘Anger flared in Joe and he felt like shouting at her.’
      • ‘Johnny called out desperately, but knew once his brother's temper flared, it had to run its course, just as Father's did.’
      • ‘Though well-meaning, they argue, the intense attention to their street has meant tempers have flared continually over the past year.’
      • ‘Officers surrounded by a baying crowd of around 40 people called in reinforcements as tempers flared and the situation threatened to get out of control.’
      • ‘His temper has flared and now is a bad time to let him regain his cool.’
      • ‘Emotions flared during the game when Yao Ming had to be restrained from going after Josh Howard after a hard foul.’
      • ‘My temper was flaring and frustration surged through my body.’
      • ‘What shall I do to make their tempers flare a bit?’
      • ‘Anger flared when the coroner, Dr Brian Farrell, offered his sympathy to the driver of the bus, a standard remark in most such cases.’
      • ‘Shock and outrage flared in one of the other men.’
      • ‘The incident was one of those moments when instant anger flared through my body.’
      • ‘His temper was flaring and it was about to go out of control.’
      • ‘His parents separated; he left school and drifted from job to job; he picked up girls; he had a temper that could flare suddenly.’
      • ‘Her hovering spirit very suddenly returned to her body, and she turned her head to look after the shadow, rage suddenly flaring in her heart.’
      • ‘Jealousy flared through him; why should Bernard get Adeline?’
      • ‘Adrian's temper was beginning to flare, his facial expressions narrowing.’
      • ‘‘They aren't protruding,’ she said, her temper flaring once more.’
      • ‘Nerves are on edge and tempers have flared a few times, including my own.’
      • ‘Rage flared in Robert, briefly overriding all other emotions, and he spun round in angry defiance.’
    3. 1.3(of an illness or chronic medical complaint) recur unexpectedly and cause further discomfort.
      ‘Tracy's pain has flared up again, this time almost beyond enduring’
      • ‘Furthermore, an asymptomatic infection can flare up after weeks or months and suddenly start to cause symptoms.’
      • ‘Johnson's chronic back problems flared up during that same game.’
      • ‘The condition may resolve late in pregnancy, but classically flares up again at delivery.’
      • ‘Sometimes chronic pain is just a nagging discomfort, but it can flare up into severe pain.’
      • ‘When your eczema flares up (gets worse), use the medicine prescribed by your doctor.’
      • ‘But prednisone isn't a permanent cure, as Crohn's can flare up at any time, and eventually abdominal cramping, fatigue and chronic diarrhea returned.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, Suzi's illness still flares up, exacerbated by stress (being married to a goalie can't help much).’
      • ‘The disease goes through periods of exacerbation and remission with no known triggers to alert the practitioner to when the condition will flare up.’
      • ‘Despite these problems, 64 percent said they had not visited a physician the last time their allergies flared up.’
      • ‘It can be present as a chronic condition, flaring up occasionally under stress.’
    4. 1.4(especially of an argument, conflict, or trouble) suddenly become more violent or intense.
      ‘a recurrent border dispute flared up again’
      • ‘Periodic unrest has flared since, but yesterday's attack was among the worst.’
      • ‘The president has faced criticism for his habit of heading overseas just as domestic crises flare out of control.’
      • ‘Intense fighting has flared between Mehdi and Iraqi government forces in the southern city of al-Kut.’
      • ‘The attack took place as racial violence flared across the Pennines in Oldham after National Front supporters descended on the town to hold an illegal march.’
      • ‘He said the German's refusal to pay for the use of his van irritated him and when he tried to collect the fee, the intensity of the argument flared.’
      • ‘As recently as last spring, a violent public response flared in Cincinnati under disturbingly familiar circumstances.’
      • ‘His men were quoted as saying there are still tribal elements in the city who are resisting their control, and that the situation could flare into fighting if they do not back down.’
      • ‘US capital markets have also been a refuge for many in recent years as emerging market crises flared from Russia and Brazil.’
      • ‘The robber gives predictably blood-curdling answers as his temper flares at the thought.’
      • ‘Tensions between Anglo and Muslim residents have flared before.’
      • ‘In the years ahead tensions over water may flare in regions outside the Middle East as well.’
      • ‘Nearly 250 priests have resigned or been dismissed from their duties since the crisis flared in January.’
      recur, reoccur, reappear
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    5. 1.5(of a person) suddenly become angry.
      ‘she flared up, shouting at Jeff’
      • ‘But suddenly, she flared up and pushed him away.’
      lose one's temper, lose control, become enraged, go into a rage, fly into a passion, fly into a temper, boil over, boil over with rage, fire up, go berserk, throw a tantrum, explode
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  • 2Gradually become wider at one end.

    ‘a flared skirt’
    ‘the dress flared out into a huge train’
    • ‘Do not give us shirt or raglan sleeves, or ‘shirtwaister’ styles with blousy tops, or flared or pleated skirts in boring patterns.’
    • ‘The dress flared at the waist and had one hell of a train on it.’
    • ‘At her knees, the skirt flared out in an emphasizing bubble.’
    • ‘Her skirt flared evenly around her, as did her hair, forming a light-colored fan behind her head.’
    • ‘Phoenix was wearing a long-sleeved forest green velvet dress that flared at the end of the sleeves.’
    • ‘She was wearing a very short skirt which flared out a lot, so we could all see her underwear since we all stood lower than her.’
    • ‘She had on purple leggings that barely flared and a too-small white top with glittery purple spirals.’
    • ‘The skirt flared out slightly at about hip-level, not very much though; it almost didn't have a waistline.’
    • ‘The bodice hugged my form and the skirt flared to give me enough room to run.’
    • ‘Shanna got a long black skirt with a black shirt that flared at the cuffs.’
    • ‘She was wearing a knee-length jean skirt that flared slightly at the bottom and cute sandals were on her dainty little feet.’
    • ‘It flared out gradually from the hips and there was a slit on two sides.’
    • ‘The dress hugged my body, but not to the point where it was skin tight, and the skirt flared out just slightly to accentuate my hips.’
    • ‘So dig out your best pair of platform boots, squeeze yourself into those flared hipsters, smooth out your huge wing collar, and saunter on over to the bright and shiny new glamvan blog.’
    • ‘I adore the simple white dress with the slightly flared sleeves.’
    • ‘It had long sleeves that slightly flared and over the dress she wore a slight scoop neck cloak.’
    • ‘The waist was small and tapered into a V, and the skirt flared out slightly, with filmy layers overlying the dress.’
    • ‘For example, you can see where zippers are located, how the shoulder line falls or if the skirt is flared.’
    • ‘The bodice was fitting, but allowed movement, and the skirt flared out so that I could run about freely.’
    • ‘Her skirt was black and also flared out with the help of a crinoline petticoat underneath.’
    1. 2.1(of a person's nostrils) dilate.
      ‘his head lifted, his nostrils flaring’
      • ‘Cargo's nostrils flared madly as he lectured Finn.’
      • ‘His nostrils flared taking in the scent of all the flora around him.’
      • ‘Lexi's nostrils flared and she straightened her shoulders back.’
      • ‘Father's nostrils flared as he registered what he was seeing, and in an instant he was striding into the room.’
      • ‘The King's cheeks turned red and his nostrils flared.’
      • ‘Chino's nostrils flared, her ears pricked and her step got springy.’
      • ‘His nostrils flared but his ears were pricked; he was listening.’
      • ‘Lena's nostrils flared slightly then she grinned and kissed his lips softly.’
      • ‘His nostrils flared and he searched for the most effective words he could use.’
      • ‘Judging from the way his nostrils flared, I wouldn't be able to change whatever set route he was on.’
      • ‘It may have been the wrong thing to mention because Monica began to chuckle slightly and Daniel's nostrils flared at her.’
      • ‘Edward's nostrils flared as he everything came back to him.’
      • ‘Erial's nostrils flared and her eyebrows moved down as she frowned.’
      • ‘It was Sylvie's nose, straight and long, narrowing in the middle just a little before the nostrils flared.’
      • ‘His nostrils flared, then his mouth set in a hard line.’
      • ‘His nostrils flared, and his lips thinned to a slit line.’
      • ‘His nostrils flared and his great chest heaved as he searched frantically for any scent.’
      • ‘His nostrils flared considerably as he inhaled the deep odor.’
      • ‘Alicia's nostrils flared at the use of the old nick name.’
      • ‘Her nostrils flared wide as she jerked back, away from me.’
      spread, broaden, widen, get wider, expand, splay
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    2. 2.2[with object](of a person) cause (the nostrils) to dilate.
      • ‘He flared his nostrils, threatened anyone who decided to continue the Patience / Horse argument with violence.’
      • ‘Having achieved the single most sinister moment on television this year, Gordon bares his teeth, flares his nostrils and pulls his face back into a rictus of a smile.’
      • ‘Bryony flared her nostrils, catching the scent of cooked meat.’
      • ‘Tobias's nostrils were flared, and he had his arms held stiffly against his sides, with his hands clenched into fists.’
      • ‘And then she threw back her head, flared her nostrils and stared at me.’
      • ‘His nostrils were flared, and his eyes were white rimmed.’
      • ‘He flared his nostrils as he tried to distinguish the smell.’
      • ‘Give it a go, you won't be sorry - just don't forget to flare those nostrils like you mean it.’
      • ‘I said nothing and instead just passed her by in the kitchen, flaring my nostrils as the smell of yet another burnt pumpkin pie entered my system.’
      • ‘I flare my nostrils ever so slightly and still feel like I've been smashed in the face by a baseball bat.’
      • ‘I like big noses, especially when the person is able to flare the nostrils at will.’
      • ‘His nostrils were flared and his coat was sweaty from a run already completed with daily battle training.’
      • ‘Even when he was a child, he flared his nostrils, just out of habit.’
      • ‘I heard Rhett flare his nostrils and I took a half step back just in case he had a wand hidden in his pants.’
      • ‘Her black hair was knotted up tight, her cheekbones stuck out very high, and her nostrils were flared.’
      • ‘He laughed as she flared her nostrils and picked up a piece of her sandwich.’
      • ‘Her large nostrils were permanently flared in an expression of exceeding displeasure at the world in general.’
      • ‘Mesa flared his nostrils, like a horse, and breathed in the deep autumn air.’
      • ‘Syona lowered her head, lightly flaring her nostrils.’
      • ‘Now Gott was flaring his nostrils and slowly flexing his muscles.’


Mid 16th century (in the sense spread out (one's hair)): of unknown origin. Current senses date from the 17th cent.