Definition of flash in English:

flash

verb

  • 1[no object] (of a light or something that reflects light) shine in a bright but brief, sudden, or intermittent way.

    ‘the lights started flashing’
    ‘a police car with a flashing light’
    • ‘She began to take a step off the ledge, but bright light flashed before her eyes.’
    • ‘There were red and blue lights flashing over the house.’
    • ‘Squad cars with flashing lights move in slow arcs through the clinic parking lot.’
    • ‘Just as I started to dial, I noticed the red light flashing on the handset signaling I had a phone message.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Without warning, to his left, a bright light flashed at the edge of the woods, about thirty meters away.’
    • ‘A distress beacon flashes over the snow-covered surroundings.’
    • ‘Bright light flashed across our eyes as fire blew up everywhere.’
    • ‘No fewer than nine police cars with flashing lights drove up, accompanied by a dozen, pistol - packing gorillas.’
    • ‘I loved being there away from the fans and flashing cameras.’
    • ‘It was already crowded and pumping with Latin dance music, the bright lights flashing across the entire room.’
    • ‘I looked up at the bright green neon sign flashing on and off, ‘Club Divine’ it read.’
    • ‘A bright light flashed and everything went silent.’
    • ‘Then she saw them dancing, red and blue lights flashing over the hardwood gym floor, her head on his shoulder.’
    • ‘A white light flashed briefly before my eyes, and there were no other words to be said.’
    • ‘A shriek echoed around the hill as bright lights began to flash under the tree.’
    • ‘He squinted his eyes as cameras flashed in front of him.’
    • ‘Bright lights flashed in an array of colors, advertising everything from vehicles to burlesque houses.’
    • ‘A sudden burst of bright green light flashed behind the tree.’
    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’
      • ‘Motorists could also draw attention to themselves by flashing their lights or sounding their horn to make people aware they are in difficulty.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She gently opened the door and flashed her light to see what lay ahead of her.’
      • ‘When she reversed into a parking space opposite the church, another car flashed its lights at her.’
      • ‘The driver was alerted to on-coming cars flashing their lights at him.’
      • ‘He says he was driving his van towards the city centre when a car behind him started flashing its lights at him.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The car was flashing its lights and sounding the horn.’
      • ‘Jak flashed the light around to see what was surrounding.’
      • ‘Cars and lorries were flashing their lights and beeping at me.’
      • ‘I have repeatedly had cars flashing their lights at me or hooting their horns and giving very rude gestures.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Italians report when the vehicle was 33 feet away, a warning light was flashed, giving little time for them to react.’
      • ‘Mark turned and flashed the light to where Tina was standing.’
      • ‘A lorry driver stopped at Frankley Services after a car flashed its lights at him.’
      • ‘Jack flashed the light down the tunnel and noticed that it curved too much to look all the way down it.’
      • ‘I drove on to the shrubs in the centre and flashed my hazard warning lights.’
      • ‘The police car flashed his lights briefly at a car that touched 90 or so, but that was about it.’
      • ‘He flashed his light over it, and tried to make out what it was, but it was very old and torn.’
    2. 1.2[with object] Shine or show a light to send (a signal)
      ‘red lights started to flash a warning’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A heliograph was a communications system consisting of two mirrors on a tripod used to flash signals with sunlight.’
      • ‘He waited until they were closer and then flashed the prearranged signal.’
      • ‘James quickly glanced back at Higgins, flashing him a signal.’
    3. 1.3[with object] Give (a swift or sudden look)
      ‘Carrie flashed a glance in his direction’
      [with two objects] ‘she flashed him a withering look’
      • ‘She flashed him a dangerous glance before looking away again.’
      • ‘He flashed a stern look towards the nurse.’
      • ‘His sister flashed a mischievous look at him.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Coach flashed a look of disgust in our direction and walked up to me.’
      • ‘Brown flashed a knowing look into the gallery, and a few people, for want of a better word, tittered.’
      • ‘He flashed an apologetic look at Jonah and Sally, his face a mixture of guilt and fear.’
      • ‘She flashes me a knowing glance and looks to be keeping track of them from the corner of her eyes.’
      • ‘She flashed an evil look back at him.’
      • ‘She pushes men away while flashing a come-hither look.’
      • ‘I flashed a look of gratitude at Noelle, and she nodded coolly.’
      • ‘I flash a look at all the others that warns them not to help him.’
      • ‘She flashed another look at the weapon; still her fear remained non-existent.’
      • ‘The man in front of her nodded his head and flashed a look of concern in her direction.’
      • ‘Jolene flashed a look at the gate and saw the guard back there again, staring blankly into space.’
      • ‘James flashed an apologetic look, but Leanne felt sorry for 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.’
      • ‘Gwen flashed an angry look at her and went around her to the door, shutting it tightly behind her.’
      • ‘He flashed an indecipherable look at me and opened the door.’
      • ‘Eric flashed a look between the two of them but didn't say anything.’
    4. 1.4 Express a sudden burst of emotion, especially anger, with a swift or sudden look.
      ‘she glared at him, her eyes flashing’
      • ‘His eyes were flashing with anger and his mouth was covered in blood.’
      • ‘Grace's eyes flashed, anger twisting her features into a snarl, ‘so he wants to play that way does he?’’
      • ‘‘You had no right to stare at me as you did, sir,’ she said bitterly, her eyes flashing in anger.’
      • ‘His eyes flashed with anger and he grabbed Willis' wrist and twisted it behind his back.’
      • ‘Alan drew his shotgun, his eyes flashing with anger as he charged back towards the door to the stairway.’
      • ‘Her brow furrowed in confusion, but then her eyes flashed with anger again.’
      • ‘Jason's eyes flashed with anger, and I began to shrink inside myself.’
      • ‘His eyes were flashing with anger, but they softened.’
      • ‘Her head was up again and her eyes were flashing with anger.’
      • ‘The crying woman's head jerked up, eyes flashing in momentary anger at my tone of voice.’
      • ‘‘Jordan isn't going to make me miserable,’ Faith argued, her eyes flashing with anger.’
      • ‘My mother replied in a low voice through gritted teeth, her honey brown eyes flashing with anger.’
      • ‘For a second I thought he was going to hit me, his eyes were flashing with anger and impatience.’
      • ‘His eyes flashed with anger behind his round gold framed glasses.’
      • ‘‘Get the hell away from me Corey - right now’ Hailey said, her eyes flashing with 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.’
      • ‘His eyes were flashing from humiliation, anger and probably pain.’
      • ‘Darcy's face paled and her green eyes flashed with restrained emotion.’
      • ‘His eyes flashed with anger for a moment, making Gwen step back unconsciously.’
  • 2[with object] Display (an image, words, or information) suddenly on a television or computer screen or electronic sign, typically briefly or repeatedly.

    ‘suddenly the screen flashes a message’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her photograph was being flashed onto television screens last night in an effort to find her relatives.’
    • ‘Nick listened to the facts and then the news channel flashed a picture of Leigh across the screen.’
    • ‘This information will be flashed on the digital display screen at the bus stop.’
    • ‘The giant white screen flashed images of people in the streets mourning Corrie's death.’
    • ‘The little screen was black again, quickly flashing how many minutes they talked.’
    • ‘I saw a picture of him that was flashed on the screen at the time of his arrest.’
    • ‘The screen's flashing different pictures at me all at once!’
    • ‘The television flashed a split screen picture of the two suspects.’
    • ‘Mobile phones are bombarded with text messages and information is flashed on motorway signs.’
    • ‘Their pictures will be flashed on television screens to help reunite them with their traveling companions.’
    • ‘The computerized system takes photographs of the cases, flashing their images on a screen.’
    • ‘When his computer screen flashes the words ‘Wake up, Neo,’ much of the audience sat up in hopeful recognition.’
    • ‘Throughout the show various statistics were flashed up on the screen which frankly seemed hard to believe.’
    • ‘Your computer screen is flashing an unwelcome message.’
    • ‘As he crossed the finishing line his image was flashed up on the large screens.’
    display, show, present, set forth, unveil
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1[no object] (of an image or message) be displayed briefly or repeatedly on a screen.
      ‘the election results flashed on the screen’
      • ‘He stopped as a picture of Abbey flashed onto the screen of a news network.’
      • ‘This ensures a customer's details flash up on a call agent's screen as the call comes in.’
      • ‘In fact, the dialogue moves so fast that at one point the film's subtitles actually begin to flash too quickly to read.’
      • ‘A picture flashed on the screen, a handsome face with a day's worth of stubble.’
      • ‘A modem dials, pages of information and images flash across a computer screen.’
      • ‘When that message does flash across a computer screen, it may well mean that a server problem is about to prove costly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Clues flash on a large screen for just eight seconds apiece.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A map flashed onscreen, indicating a location with the proper coordinates beside it.’
      • ‘The machine beeped in recognition of the code and the numbers flashed momentarily across the screen.’
      • ‘As soon as the first image flashed up on the screen it would have been clear what site it was.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘On the two giant screens flanking him, video images flashed in rapid-fire succession.’
      • ‘He raised a scowl as his image flashed across the big screen.’
      • ‘As he was working at his computer, a message flashed once on the screen.’
      • ‘A crackling image flashed onto the screen, lines of static and interference scrolled up and down the message.’
      • ‘He was relieved when a picture of his nephew flashed up on the television screen.’
    2. 2.2informal Hold up or show (something, often proof of one's identity) quickly before replacing it.
      ‘she opened her purse and flashed her ID card’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Just then another passenger rose from his seat and flashed a small plastic card at the warring parties.’
    3. 2.3informal Make a conspicuous display of (something) so as to impress or attract attention.
      ‘they all flash their money around’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You should take their money if they are flashing it round.’
      • ‘They are loud, leery and loaded, and come Friday night you'll find them boozing down the pub flashing the latest designer gear.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Don't flash your money, don't cut through alleys, dress in layers.’
      • ‘Despite living in a homeless shelter, he flashed wads of cash and frequently took airplane trips on purported business.’
      • ‘They hate to see somebody flashing the money around like that.’
      • ‘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. 2.4often as noun flashinginformal [no object] (especially 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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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
  • 3[no object] Move or pass very quickly.

    ‘a look of terror flashed across Kirov's face’
    ‘the scenery flashed by’
    ‘another stray thought flashed through her mind’
    • ‘As they step inside a look of realization flashes over Jason's face.’
    • ‘A look of amused surprise flashes over his face.’
    • ‘There are the cool dudes flashing along the byways as if they were racing in the Tour de France.’
    • ‘But anger flashed across her face when the cellular phone in her pocket rang.’
    • ‘Not even the beautiful scenery flashing past the windows of the truck could distract his thoughts.’
    • ‘For an instant, sheer terror flashed across Lady Alison's face, then she composed herself and turned.’
    • ‘The time flashed by so quickly for the rest of the trip.’
    • ‘For a moment, anger flashes across his face as he addresses this accusation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Karl asked, a confused look flashing over his face again.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Within seconds of weighing up the overtaking space, the scenery is flashing past you at incredible speed.’
    • ‘A wince of pain flashing over her pale, clammy features told me she was slowly remembering.’
    • ‘They flashed quickly past Marcy, and she had taken them in and interpreted them without knowing it.’
    • ‘Eventually, I became aware that the streetlights were not flashing by as quickly as they had been.’
    • ‘The altimeter was counting down, the final couple of hundred feet flashing by too quickly.’
    • ‘The goalkeeper didn't even move as the ball flashed past him, sending ripples down the back of the net.’
    • ‘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. 3.1[with object] Send (news or information) swiftly by means of telegraphy or telecommunications.
      ‘the story was flashed around the world’
      • ‘This news had earlier been flashed to the world via the BBC website.’
      • ‘The quote was diligently flashed around the world by wire agencies, including the Press Association.’
      • ‘TV footage and stills of that scene were flashed around the world.’
      • ‘Images of the shooting - videotaped by TV crews covering the march - were 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.’
      • ‘This era is also made unique by the speed with which sporting feats are flashed around the world.’
      • ‘This nonchalance is understandable: pictures of his pub are flashed around the world's televisions every time the river breaks its banks.’
      • ‘Ninety years ago, there were no television pictures, radio broadcasts or Internet bulletins to flash the news around the globe in an instant.’
      • ‘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.’

noun

  • 1A sudden brief burst of bright light or a sudden glint from a reflective surface.

    ‘the grenade exploded with a yellow flash of light’
    ‘a lightning flash’
    • ‘Again lightning cracked, illuminating the room in a bright flash of light.’
    • ‘Camera flashes went off as the scene was investigated, causing her to squint.’
    • ‘Camera flashes illuminate the speaker as she concludes her two-hour address to a thunderous standing ovation.’
    • ‘A loud clap of thunder sounded overhead, followed immediately by a flash of lightning that lit up the entire night sky.’
    • ‘The bright flashes of light flickered against Nick's hopeless face.’
    • ‘As the light of day slowly dimmed, the world was lit by the angry flashes of lightning which crackled across the sky.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Large flashes of light occasionally burst forth from the opening of a cave leading into the opposing mountain range.’
    • ‘Thunder growled, and I saw a brief flash of lightning far away.’
    • ‘As she was strolling down the final row, a sudden flash of bright light caught her attention.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A flash of lightning lit her room followed by another thunderclap.’
    • ‘Suddenly, a brilliant flash split the night sky in front of him.’
    • ‘She turned when she heard the throng of girls scream and giggle and was almost blinded by camera flashes.’
    • ‘There was a sudden flash of white light and a jagged bolt came down from the night time sky.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There was a sudden flash that lit up the entire sky, changing the night to day for an instant.’
    • ‘At this a loud crash was heard behind them followed by a bright flash of lightning, lighting up the forest briefly.’
    flare, blaze, burst, glare, pulse, blast
    View synonyms
  • 2A thing that occurs suddenly and within a brief period of time, in particular.

    1. 2.1 A sudden instance or manifestation of a quality, understanding, or humor.
      ‘she had a flash of inspiration’
      • ‘Harrison displayed flashes of strength and determination, but it was his endurance that saw him remain champion.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Perhaps, one of them will display a flash of brilliance.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Paul is manic and edgy on stage, with the occasional flash of surreal genius.’
      • ‘There was an apology, a long pause, and then a flash of insight.’
      • ‘There are flashes of very good prose in this book.’
      • ‘So, the film has intelligent moments, bright spots, flashes of insight, but it lacks genuine weight and presence.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was hit with a sudden flash of vertigo, and his stomach rolled over in a lazy lurch.’
      • ‘Only rarely is there a sudden flash of insight and this is usually retrospective.’
      • ‘On occasions he has displayed flashes of courage.’
      • ‘Kevin felt a brief flash of anger, but it quickly subsided and they continued training.’
      • ‘Then with a flash of insight he knew what he had to do.’
      • ‘In a sudden flash of insight, I realized what he did not want me to know.’
      • ‘His direction is not perfect, but shows occasional flashes of genius.’
      • ‘But the spin-off does show the occasional flash of inspiration.’
      • ‘Somewhat frustratingly they do show the occasional flash of inspiration, generally during their less frequent slower numbers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He displays flashes of directorial brilliance, particularly in terms of the relationships between the characters, and the performances are solid.’
      burst, outbreak, outburst, wave, rush, surge, stab, flush, blaze
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 A news flash.
      • ‘I was in a of a press association this afternoon when the flash came in.’
      • ‘When at last the news agency flash came of the Nazi capitulation on May 7, 1945, the Manchester Eveneing News was ready.’
  • 3Computing
    trademark A platform for producing and displaying animation and video in web browsers.

    • ‘We still do a lot of personal research and development work with Flash and our websites are really popular.’
    • ‘You'll need Flash and QuickTime to view all the extras buried in these online presentations.’
    • ‘The original idea I had was to animate it in Flash, which I have done here.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 4A camera attachment that produces a brief very bright light, used for taking photographs in poor light.

    ‘an electronic flash’
    ‘if in any doubt, use flash’
    [as modifier] ‘flash photography’
    • ‘The settings of the camera and flashes were always identical, and thus all photographs received a standard light exposure.’
    • ‘He finds Gilbert, and they spot Keaton, who is using the flash on her digital camera as a flashlight.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Pulling out her camera and attaching the flash, she climbs out of the car and moves past the barricade.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 5Excess plastic or metal forced between facing surfaces as two halves of a mold close up, forming a thin projection on the finished object.

    • ‘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.’

adjective

British
informal
  • 1(of a thing) ostentatiously expensive, elaborate, or up to date.

    ‘a flash new car’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The flash car finally pulled up at a very large house with lots of trees and flowers beautifully landscaped.’
    • ‘Money brings status and we want to take away the flash car a drug dealer is driving and show them they are not untouchable.’
    • ‘Away from flash boats and cars, the other magnetic attraction of Monte Carlo is gambling.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He does not drive a mega sports car, or lead a flash lifestyle.’
    • ‘It is simply the case that in this world of convenience, flash holidays and big cars, working the land has lost its appeal.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He drives a flash sports car, has three tattoos and dyes his hair.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They're stylish but not too flash, and practical too!’
    • ‘I parked my grungy old delivery van among the rows and rows of flash cars and crept up to the house.’
    • ‘But I have been aware of a lot of flash cars which kept racing up and down here.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They don't own flash cars or houses but they do take an active interest in managing their money.’
    • ‘Every so often a flash car drives towards the factory.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She had a big flash house, probably a big flash car and loads of money in the bank.’
    ostentatious, showy, bold, flamboyant, conspicuous, obtrusive, extravagant, expensive, pretentious
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a person) superficially attractive because stylish and full of brash charm.
      ‘he was carrying this money around and trying to be flash’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You leave a small tip and your companion thinks you're a cheapskate; a large one and she thinks you're a flash git.’
      • ‘They are big brash symbols of conspicuous consumption, a way for flash men and women with a lot of cash to flaunt their wealth.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I'd always known that Mark was a bit of flash git.’
      • ‘Nicky Cole is a flash geezer from the South, but Yates is a flash geezer from the North.’
  • 2archaic Relating to thieves, prostitutes, or the underworld, especially their language.

    • ‘Notwithstanding the editor's condescension toward these ‘second-rate’ men, he recognizes the opportunity flash language provided for disguised communication.’
    • ‘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.’

Phrases

  • flash in the pan

    • A thing or person whose sudden but brief success is not repeated or repeatable.

      ‘our start to the season was just a flash in the pan’
      • ‘Are they a flash in the pan, though, or are they here to stay?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Perhaps this is just another flash in the pan but I think it is significant.’
      • ‘‘A lot of those bands are going to be a flash in the pan,’ he says.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And his form so far this season has proved that his success last year was no 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.’
      • ‘The conference speech confirmed that he wasn't a flash in the pan.’
      • ‘It is not a flash in the pan but something that's been maintained over a long period.’
  • in (or like) a flash

    • Very quickly; immediately.

      ‘she was out of the back door 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I closed the door quickly and like a flash I was at the table filling my bag with the money once 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.’
      • ‘He was on to it like a flash, racing into the penalty area.’
      • ‘The weekend passes like a flash, and we return to the daily grind of college, waiting for it to come again.’
      • ‘There had been ads on TV since September building up to Christmas, and it was all over in a flash.’
      • ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and three hours passed in a flash.’
      • ‘Let me know if there's room on the back of your truck, and I'll be there in a flash.’
      • ‘Peggy was out of the car in a flash, with Mrs Griffiths following her inside.’
      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.’
      • ‘As quick as a flash, Arthur jumped on one of the bikes and turned the ignition key.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If they'd have let her come with us, she'd have been on that boat as quick as a flash.’
      • ‘Then, quick as a flash, something smashed the window and flew across the room, making her jump involuntarily.’
      • ‘She reveals she buys all her own clothes for work, ‘although I never pay full price,’ she adds, quick as a flash.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • flash back

    • (of a person's thoughts or mind) briefly and suddenly recall a previous time or incident.

      ‘her thoughts immediately flashed back to last night’
      • ‘My mind immediately flashed back to my dream, and I blushed again.’
      • ‘But then the look on that man's face suddenly flashed back to me.’
      • ‘Her mind flashed back to when he was talking to her.’
      • ‘Her mind flashed back to the events of the evening, the dancing.’
      • ‘Images kept flashing back from the previous day, what she had said… what he had said…’
      • ‘Her mind flashes back to yesterday at twilight, when she'd started the engine, preparing to abandon Frank and escape the woods on her own.’
      • ‘The events from the previous day came flashing back.’
      • ‘Suddenly my mind flashed back to a day eight months ago.’
      • ‘My mind kept flashing back to what happened two weeks ago.’
      • ‘Her mind flashed back to the time she first met Nick.’
  • 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.’
      • ‘An arc then flashes over between these electrodes 24 and 13, giving rise to ionization and pressurization.’
      • ‘If the voltage is high enough, the insulator flashes over causing a short circuit of the system.’
      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.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

flash

/flaSH/