Definition of flask in US English:



  • 1A container for liquids.

    • ‘Next, he placed them in the bowl over the fire, and added some of the steaming liquid from the flask.’
    • ‘Three television sets surmounted a polished wood counter, with innumerable flasks and glasses dangling by their stems in racks above the rows of bottled liquors and beverages.’
    • ‘He opened the flask and allowed a small amount of the dark liquid to pour into his wine.’
    • ‘With a few gurgling noises created from his throat, and, evidently, some mucus, he filled the glass to a quarter inch below the brim with the liquid in the flask.’
    • ‘One of the flasks holds an oily liquid approximating to coffee while the other holds almost-boiling water that might nearly brew a half-strength cup of extra-weak tea.’
    • ‘The head nurse was standing over her with a silver flask of water in one hand and a damp white cloth in the other.’
    • ‘Arven examined the box and saw at its end was a spout that was draining liquid into a flask.’
    • ‘With that, I opened up the flask with my mouth and began pouring cold liquid on my injured hand.’
    • ‘He pushed a large flask filled with a sparkling, curious, blue liquid into her palm.’
    • ‘The doctor handed Alex a flask that contained some kind of red liquid in it.’
    • ‘She looked at Alistra, and unbuckled her safety belt, containing a water flask, some rations (in case they got lost), and her weapons.’
    • ‘Jonathan pulled out a small flask, and shook it a bit and heard liquid sloshing around.’
    • ‘Barth put his head in his hands and stared down at the greenish liquid in his flask.’
    • ‘A spokesman told Reuters that two small flasks containing traces of the poison were discovered in a left luggage depot at the mainline railway station which serves the south of France.’
    • ‘He uncorked it, and poured the clear liquid into the flask.’
    • ‘To the back of Adian lay a bar, with flasks and wooden kegs that were tapped for liquid stacked in every available place.’
    • ‘The men pulled out food: dried fruit and cheese, bread and salted meats, wine and small flasks of water.’
    • ‘He looks at the cup, smiles, and adds a little liquid from a flask.’
    • ‘During the night their thirst became so bad that Folcher went down to the village to fill up their flasks at the fountain.’
    • ‘He reached into his bag and pulled out three cups and a flask of some greenish blue liquid.’
    bottle, container, vessel
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    1. 1.1 A narrow-necked glass container, typically conical or spherical, used in a laboratory to hold reagents or samples.
      • ‘The tips remained in the same Thunberg tubes with 10 ml of solution for the first 8 h, and then were transferred to 50 ml in conical flasks.’
      • ‘Gas in the headspace of flasks was sampled with a tight syringe.’
      • ‘Immediately after weighing the roots were transferred to 250 ml round-bottom flasks, immersed in kerosene and sealed with plastic corks.’
      • ‘In longer term experiments the aerated treatments were in 100 ml of solution in conical flasks.’
      • ‘Liquid culture was in 100 ml of the medium in 250 ml conical flasks.’
      • ‘The only time they are exposed to Bunsen burners and round-bottomed flasks is when they open text books to study.’
      • ‘Working solutions had also been prepared in amber glass volumetric flasks by appropriate dilution just before use.’
      • ‘Five minutes passed and the scientist held up two flasks filled with liquid: blue and green.’
      • ‘After 8 h of re-aeration, the excised coleoptile tips were transferred to conical flasks with 50 ml aerated nutrient solution.’
      • ‘Each soil sample was mixed with 100 ml of gastric solution in volumetric glass flasks.’
      • ‘They put methane, ammonia and carbon dioxide in a flask with some water, sparked some electricity through it, and after a week they got a brown sludge which contained amino acids.’
      • ‘Beside him is a flask of smokey bubbling liquid amid a clutter of apparatus.’
      • ‘The flask is then heated to a temperature above the boiling point of the liquid.’
      • ‘Levengood tested the metal fragment for the presence of hydrogen by putting a sample in a flask with a weak solution of acetic acid.’
      • ‘The cells could also be grown as suspension culture in conical flasks on a rotary shaker giving higher yield of cells.’
      • ‘The GA solution was dried in a rotor evaporator and then incubated under vacuum overnight in a reagent flask.’
      • ‘She turned around on her stool with a bright smile on her face holding the flask and a test tube out to the confused young man.’
      • ‘Those folks would have understood instantly what I was up to last week, stirring zinc powder in a flask with some dilute hydrochloric acid and washing it off.’
      • ‘He then dissolved the glassy residue in dilute hydrochloric acid, boiled it, and left it to stand for several days in a corked flask.’
      • ‘The scientists had their backs turned to the door and were inspecting a cupboard full of flasks and vials holding multi-colored liquids.’
    2. 1.2 A metal container for storing a small amount of liquor, typically to be carried in one's pocket.
      ‘his silver flask of brandy’
      • ‘Between the folds of the bottom towel in the linen closet, he retrieved a silver flask and took several greedy swallows.’
      • ‘There in the corner of the room (or relegated to an unloved table just outside the door) you'll find a wobbly pile of undersize crockery and two silver flasks.’
      • ‘I walked next to him for an hour or so and shared my brandy flask with him.’
      • ‘The silver flask touched her lips as reverently as the Christian chalice of gold.’
      • ‘Near death, he injected himself with a liquid he kept in a tiny flask on his girdle.’
      • ‘Cleo had wandered to the sofa and was pulling a flask from her small silver shoulder purse.’
      • ‘Summiting about noon, we found other climbers blissed-out in the sun, eating crackers and drinking from little silver flasks.’
      • ‘He pulled out the obligatory silver flask from the suitcase and took a long drink.’
      • ‘She walked to the oblong metal coffee-table and picked up a silver flask.’
      • ‘At the summit, while taking celebratory sips of whiskey from my Kansas City Chiefs flask, we were approached by an athletic couple from Colorado.’
      • ‘They palled up with booze and they kept their pal close at hand: a pint in the glove box, a flask on the hip, and most famously, the fifth in the desk.’
    3. 1.3 A narrow-necked bulbous glass container, typically with a covering of wickerwork, for storing wine or oil.
      • ‘After that, the colonel explained that it would take more than two years for the young boy to go near another flask of wine without feeling nauseous.’
      • ‘But as she recorded their business accounts, the story of Moses flitted in and out of her head between the credits and debits, the flasks of beer and wine and jars of olive oil and measures of profit.’
      • ‘Deran decided he really didn't want to know, and while the boy chattered on, he tried to creep away, intending to get a refill for his wine flask.’
      • ‘‘Sky wine,’ answered he Captain as he replaced the flask under the folds of his tunic.’
      • ‘He kept the young man to dinner, and made himself very agreeable by the freedom and liveliness of his conversation, especially when warmed by a flask or two of Tuscan wine.’
      • ‘They also brought water, which went largely untouched while there was still wine in the flask.’
      • ‘When there's no more wine in the flask at my table my friends are happy to drink my water.’
      • ‘In a broader sense, New Orleans is a ‘movable feast’, a flask of good wine that you carry with you wherever you are.’
      • ‘The wine comes in deep-bottomed 46 cl flasks.’
      • ‘She slid a wooden platter between the bars of the cage: two steaming lumps of goat's flesh, with a hunch of bread and a flask of wine.’
      • ‘He chose a spice wine flask while adjusting the military standard transponder.’
      • ‘One parcel, wrapped in cloth, contained bread, cheese, and a small flask of wine.’
      • ‘We find there some of the same costly foodstuffs (especially cherries and roast fowl) and wine flasks.’
      • ‘The Tuscan origins of this fiaschetteria (where wine in straw flasks was sold) are honoured in a range of Chianina steak dishes and in a wine list which is strong on Chiantis and Brunellos.’
      jug, vessel, container, bottle, carafe, decanter, mug, tankard, ewer, pitcher, crock, demijohn
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    4. 1.4 A vacuum flask.
      • ‘Suddenly oblivious to my presence, she dropped her purse on my desk, pulled out a flask and a small jar of olives and made herself another strong one.’
      • ‘Her mother must have been mad to allow it, but she did and even provided a flask of coffee, which didn't survive the rigid rear suspension.’
      • ‘Good spot to stop for a cup of coffee providing you have taken your flask with you!’
      • ‘McPeabody unscrewed the lid and poured some of the flask's liquid contents into his coffee cup.’
      • ‘Since that day Mary had carried a flask of tea with her, now noting with dismay that she had left it behind at the wall.’
      • ‘I took a flask of coffee and some bacon sandwiches, sat on a bench, and thought about life.’
      • ‘As there is no time or facility at the other office for making endless cups I take a big flask with me.’
      • ‘That is, if you take a nice flask of coffee and rum for the cold nights.’
      • ‘They held Britain to ransom with a flask of tea and some picnic chairs.’
      • ‘For most of us that means a ramble across the North York Moors, or a bracing walk along the east coast before map reading our way back to the car for a flask of tea.’
      • ‘I will ask my wife to prepare me some sandwiches, and make a flask of strong, hot tea to go with my tube of peppermints - that should do it.’
      • ‘At 8.45 I shall make flasks of strong, black coffee and also have chilled mineral water on hand in case of dehydration.’
      • ‘Their contribution to the daytrip consisted of two apples and a flask of green tea.’
      • ‘This time the modern-day Lady workers were enjoying a string concert and a glass or two of wine (though I suspect some people smuggled in flasks of rosehip tea).’
      • ‘I have also been taking with me a flask of soup and a blanket.’
      • ‘If you really need to drive, take a flask of coffee and a packed lunch.’
      • ‘Former serviceman Ray's next port of call was to grab his flask and give the ‘shaken’ woman driver a cup of coffee to calm her.’
      • ‘So, I made a flask of tea and a knocked together breakfasty lunch to take out in the car.’
      • ‘A flask of Greek coffee so sweet and thick you could cut it with a knife wakes you up and it's time to go back to work again.’
      • ‘He got up at six, packed his car with hot-water bottle, shovel, flask and blanket, and took three hours to drive 12 miles.’
    5. 1.5 The contents of a flask.
      ‘a flask of coffee’
      • ‘We have even found a hot flask of coffee there, so the person certainly wasn't far away.’
      • ‘I am so thirsty I guzzle several glasses of fruit juice, a litre of water and most of a flask of red bush tea before I even sit down.’
      • ‘The German student cracked open a flask of schnapps and I chipped in my packed lunch.’
      • ‘Before meeting her, I might have listed these as follows: thermals, a woolly hat and a flask of whisky.’
      • ‘He would drive out each day, a flask of iced tea in one pocket, a bottle of cognac in the other - every inch the fearless veteran war photographer.’
      • ‘Accompanied by a flask of tea and his familiar pipe, Britain's most famous campaigner for socialism filled the Grand's stage without ever leaving his comfy seat.’
      • ‘Wives brought sandwiches and flasks of tea for lunch and children played on the mounds of soil.’
      • ‘The last time I did it, I was paddling a canoe, overtaking some innocent lake users, dressed as a pirate with half a flask of rum in my belly.’
      • ‘It's great to hear Rich and Stew's classic dialogue again, all best washed down with a flask of weak lemon drink.’
      • ‘Things must have seemed to be going his way as he prepared his flask of coffee and headed to Wigan for work.’
      • ‘Sitting alone on the stage with only his trademark flask of tea and his pipe for company, the old boy positively exudes optimism.’
      • ‘For this reason a flask of whisky is included in every soldier's rations, which is only to be opened on permission of an officer and is inspected daily to determine if its owner has cheated.’
      • ‘I laughed and reached for my flask of whiskey which had dollops of freeze-dried whipped cream floating in it like snow.’
      • ‘Shall we go back to the days of bringing a flask of tea and a packed lunch?’
      • ‘In icy conditions, carry a flask of hot water in the car.’
      • ‘And behind any club at night you will find gangs of sophisticated and gorgeous thirty-somethings swigging guiltily from an illicit flask of vodka.’
      • ‘I raised the flask of holy water to his lips and let him drink.’
      • ‘How is this different from carrying a small flask of medicinal whiskey?’
      • ‘Hart said he had made a flask of coffee with six spoonfuls of coffee and eight of sugar which he had drunk from at least three times en route.’
      • ‘Older ones can be given a flask of soup made with milk for extra nourishment during winter months.’
    6. 1.6historical
      short for powder flask
      • ‘Sitting on top of shellfish remains were 20 empty gunpowder flasks and loose flask caps.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘cask’): from medieval Latin flasca. From the mid 16th century the word denoted a case of horn, leather, or metal for carrying gunpowder. The sense ‘glass container’ (late 17th century) was influenced by Italian fiasco, from medieval Latin flasco. Compare with flagon.