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’
    • ‘Above his head, rows of fluorescent lights flickered and buzzed.’
    • ‘The computer screen flickered and 68 results appeared on the screen.’
    • ‘There was a pause and then fluorescent lights flickered to life.’
    • ‘In the near distance, torch light flickered through the blackness, slowly moving away from her.’
    • ‘The bright flashes of light flickered against Nick's hopeless face.’
    • ‘Of course, the restaurant has no sign - only a red neon ‘open’ that flickers in one window.’
    • ‘The screen flickered, the file opened and I began the run through.’
    • ‘And like the bright sun of the Caribbean the porch light flickered on.’
    • ‘Green and white lights flickered all up the sides of the hall.’
    • ‘The television flickered and a vision appeared on the screen.’
    • ‘Without any warning, the lights flickered then turned on brightly.’
    • ‘There were no bright lights flickering on and off giving you a headache.’
    • ‘A bright light flickered from the other side of the window and firecrackers popped all over the room.’
    • ‘At that moment a strong gust of wind rocked the Weston house, and the lights flickered and then electricity failed.’
    • ‘The harsh fluorescent light flickered back on and Ashley looked up at him.’
    • ‘Headlights flickered in through my open window and I sat up eagerly to peer outside.’
    • ‘My animals would behave strangely; electric lights would flicker and flash.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The sun flickered as its light shone through the branches of the trees.’
    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 of the fire’
      • ‘Small dying flames flickered on his body, and he did nothing to remove them, as if the flames were merely a mirage.’
      • ‘Nick's eyes burned, small flames flickering within his pupils.’
      • ‘But the troubles caused by that truth cause the candle's flame to flicker slightly from time to time.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And the stars that were splashed across the sky flickered like candle flames.’
      • ‘Alicia had placed a group of advent candles on the windowsill and their flames were flickering merrily against the backdrop of the night.’
      • ‘The candle flames flickered oddly, as if some draft was waxing and waning in time with the chanting.’
      • ‘Amy entered the dining room with a lighted candle in one hand, the flame flickering in the darkness.’
      • ‘Once the lights were dimmed, the view from the stage was pitch-black save for the pinpoints of candle flames flickering in the dark.’
      • ‘She crouched on the soft sand in a cave, the light of a dying fire flickering across her tan fur.’
      • ‘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 flame flickered, casting an amber glow over the room and coating it in warmth.’
      • ‘The dying embers of the fire flickered and he squinted to get a feel of his surroundings.’
      • ‘The immature flame of the candle flickered slightly, exposing for a moment more of the trio seated in the room.’
      • ‘It is promised that he shall enjoy its treasures, and so he does for a short time, before the flames flicker upon him in turn.’
      • ‘The flame flickered and then burnt fiercely, casting a warm yellow light over the small study.’
      • ‘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 flames flickered in the darkness of the lower level and cast eerie shadows over the ground.’
      • ‘By the time she got him to the side of the road, flames were flickering.’
    2. 1.2[with adverbial of place](of a feeling or emotion) be experienced or show itself briefly and faintly, especially in someone's eyes.
      ‘amusement flickered briefly in his eyes’
      • ‘I watched the emotions flicker across his face, like a rainbow in a spray of water.’
      • ‘Morgan watched discreetly as different emotions flickered across her face.’
      • ‘Not an emotion flickered across Lisa's face as she stared coolly back at the waitress.’
      • ‘Amusement flickered briefly over Stone's face before he turned his attention to the package.’
      • ‘Faith had been watching the conflicting emotions flicker over his face.’
      • ‘I looked up at him and watched the emotions flicker across his face.’
      • ‘An undefined emotion flickered over his features briefly before they settled back into a blank gaze.’
      • ‘Emotions flickered across Mage's face before he once again spoke to his friend.’
      • ‘Timon pressed lightly, though his dark eyes watched her face carefully as emotions flickered across it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Jamie smirked softly, watching the emotions flicker in Brian's wide blue eyes.’
      • ‘A thousand painful, confusing emotions flickered through her brain all at once and she pulled away from him sharply.’
      • ‘Anger flickered briefly in Kreed's eyes before their expression was quickly masked.’
      • ‘It was in that moment that several emotions flickered across the young girl's face.’
      • ‘Emotions flickered across Michelle's face as she listened to the conversation between the two brothers.’
      • ‘Rage briefly flickered in that imperial expression, then she seemed amused again.’
      • ‘Emotions briefly flickered across his blue eyes as they gazed into hers, wide and astonished.’
  • 2Make small, quick movements; flutter rapidly.

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

noun

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

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

    ‘then a flicker of movement caught his eye’
    • ‘Again, as in the other dream, she saw a flicker of movement, but this time she followed it.’
    • ‘Near the mistline a flicker of movement in the uppermost section of waterfall caught our attention.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He caught a flicker of movement off to his right and vaguely heard the soft sounds of a small stream.’
    • ‘He gave a thumbs-up and saw a flicker of movement from the shadows.’
    • ‘A flicker of movement at the corner of his eye drew his attention away, and Seira tore his gaze away.’
    • ‘He saw a flicker of movement in the trees, and he climbed forward quietly, creeping up on Devoss.’
    • ‘A flicker of movement, about a hundred yards from the gate suddenly drawing his attention.’
    • ‘She thought she caught a flicker of movement out of the corner of her eye and turned to peer intently that way.’
    • ‘Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a flicker of movement.’
    • ‘I stop for a moment and I see a flicker of movement.’
    • ‘In a patient with an Achilles rupture, only a flicker of movement on the pressure gauge is discernible with dorsiflexion.’
    • ‘Doune glanced up at the sign of a flicker of movement above him.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There was a flicker of movement at the corner of my eye, and I threw myself to the side instinctively.’
    • ‘Ebony could see a dark flicker of movement outside, and a moment later the door opened and a man walked into the room.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I saw a flicker of movement from the shadowy hall.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 2.1A brief feeling or indication of emotion.
      ‘a flicker of a smile passed across her face’
      ‘she felt a flicker of alarm’
      • ‘Bam was close to me again and there was a faint flicker of hope.’
      • ‘A short while earlier in the car park, in those few precious seconds when he had stood out in the open next to Emma, he had allowed himself to feel a faint flicker of optimism.’
      • ‘Even so, the artist's disparate styles of portrait and cartoon clash with only a flicker of emotional spark.’
      • ‘The Princess's reaction was typically stony as judgment was handed down, betraying not a flicker of emotion.’
      • ‘But the only hate we feel will be a brief flicker at ourselves, for letting you make us so angry today.’
      • ‘And yet there was something that emerged from this town that reverberated around the world, a brief flicker of recognition of what it really means to be human.’
      • ‘Her father gave her to Yuugi, who accepted her hand, but didn't show any flicker of emotion or anything else.’
      • ‘In the final years of her illness she showed no recognition or flicker of emotional attachment - yet her loyal husband refused to leave her side until she finally passed away.’
      • ‘I have to wonder that when a brief flicker of sanity hits me.’
      • ‘After a brief flicker of excitement, the game has descended into monotony again.’
      • ‘I see her in every beautiful woman, in every danger that threatens to overtake me, in every heartbeat, every flicker of emotion.’
      • ‘He sighed, and as I turned to face him, I saw a brief flicker of rage cross his face.’
      • ‘The brief flicker of humanity that was revealed when the minister allowed Kunle back into the country demands that he does the same thing with this case.’
      • ‘They are not merely unthinking savages: even in Goethe we have the faintest flicker of humanity.’
      • ‘I actually went into a Zen state beyond boredom, in that for patches it was so boring I experienced a flicker of interest - in how boring it was.’
      • ‘He gave no indication of her staring, no flicker of emotion, just a bare hint of amusement in his lips, then it was gone.’
      • ‘For a brief moment, a flicker of desire flashed across his face, then was gone as quickly as it had appeared.’
      • ‘He does precious little with the text, however, registering not so much as a flicker of emotional anguish.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • flicker out

    • 1(of a flame or light) die away and go out after a series of flickers.

      • ‘She's already asleep by the time the light flickers out and leaves a pale, greenish afterglow.’
      • ‘It at last flickers out completely, leaving me in the dim light of dusk.’
      • ‘I didn't have much more time to dwell on Claire's incompetence as a best friend, as they suddenly broke apart and the lights flickered out again.’
      • ‘Almost at its mention the flame flickered out, leaving them in darkness.’
      • ‘Half way there the lights on my dashboard flickered out, and no amount of fiddling with the fuses would make any difference.’
      • ‘I held onto her as her eyes glazed over and the light of life flickered out.’
      • ‘Still watching the candle, the flame flickered out for a few moments before coming back to life.’
      • ‘She vividly recalled wading through the rapidly filling hallways, the lights flickering out, water rushing through a door, overtaking a man and his young son.’
      • ‘The tableau froze, motionless, and the flame of the memorial flickered out, and the stage became dark.’
      • ‘Sighing I was just about to give in to my sleep deprived brain and allow it some rest when the dome light flickered out.’
      • ‘The flame flickered out and Shaidanna's eyes dimmed back to normal.’
      • ‘The lights flickered out and Sniper sat, staring into the darkness of the room.’
      • ‘In the time it took me to cross the courtyard, every light flickered out, replaced by one in the room adjacent as the night staff moved throughout the building.’
      • ‘As she left, the lights started flickering out in the video game area, and the persistent whirring of the lane polishers shuddered to a halt.’
      • ‘The lights flickered out, sending the room into pitch darkness.’
      • ‘The flame from the arrow flickered out and everything went black again.’
      • ‘Almost as if the lightning and the power had struck a deal, the lights flickered out throughout the hallway.’
      • ‘But as soon as Hador had given his command, the lights flickered out and the room seemed to grow in the darkness that soon engulfed her.’
      • ‘She sighed again and put the sunglasses on just as the lights flickered out and the fire died with a small poof.’
      • ‘Within a minute of his orders the lights in the main deck and all across the ship flickered out, leaving the Osprey darkened except the dim red emergency lights.’
      1. 1.1(of a feeling) die away and finally disappear.
        ‘the swift burst of curiosity and eagerness flickered out’

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

flicker

/ˈflikər/

Main definitions of flicker in English

: flicker1flicker2

flicker2

noun

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

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

Origin

Early 19th century: imitative of its call.

Pronunciation:

flicker

/ˈflikər/