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’
    • ‘In the near distance, torch light flickered through the blackness, slowly moving away from her.’
    • ‘The harsh fluorescent light flickered back on and Ashley looked up at him.’
    • ‘Above his head, rows of fluorescent lights flickered and buzzed.’
    • ‘Without any warning, the lights flickered then turned on brightly.’
    • ‘Headlights flickered in through my open window and I sat up eagerly to peer outside.’
    • ‘Of course, the restaurant has no sign - only a red neon ‘open’ that flickers in one window.’
    • ‘There were no bright lights flickering on and off giving you a headache.’
    • ‘The screen flickered, the file opened and I began the run through.’
    • ‘The computer screen flickered and 68 results appeared on the screen.’
    • ‘My animals would behave strangely; electric lights would flicker and flash.’
    • ‘The bright flashes of light flickered against Nick's hopeless face.’
    • ‘Then the bioluminescent lights flickered on and Damian was blinded by the sudden flash of light.’
    • ‘Then her only source of light flickered off but did not come on again.’
    • ‘The sun flickered as its light shone through the branches of the trees.’
    • ‘Green and white lights flickered all up the sides of the hall.’
    • ‘A bright light flickered from the other side of the window and firecrackers popped all over the room.’
    • ‘The television flickered and a vision appeared on the screen.’
    • ‘At that moment a strong gust of wind rocked the Weston house, and the lights flickered and then electricity failed.’
    • ‘And like the bright sun of the Caribbean the porch light flickered on.’
    • ‘There was a pause and then fluorescent lights flickered to life.’
    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’
      • ‘She crouched on the soft sand in a cave, the light of a dying fire flickering across her tan fur.’
      • ‘I held in my hand a single black candle, it's flame flickering as my body disturbed the air around it.’
      • ‘The candle fire flickered and the shadows danced in the room.’
      • ‘The flame flickered, casting an amber glow over the room and coating it in warmth.’
      • ‘Once the lights were dimmed, the view from the stage was pitch-black save for the pinpoints of candle flames flickering in the dark.’
      • ‘The music sways like a candle flame flickering in the breeze; it can fade, almost dying altogether, then it suddenly soars high and true.’
      • ‘Alicia had placed a group of advent candles on the windowsill and their flames were flickering merrily against the backdrop of the night.’
      • ‘By the time she got him to the side of the road, flames were flickering.’
      • ‘Amy entered the dining room with a lighted candle in one hand, the flame flickering in the darkness.’
      • ‘The immature flame of the candle flickered slightly, exposing for a moment more of the trio seated in the room.’
      • ‘The dying embers of the fire flickered and he squinted to get a feel of his surroundings.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The candle flames flickered oddly, as if some draft was waxing and waning in time with the chanting.’
      • ‘But the troubles caused by that truth cause the candle's flame to flicker slightly from time to time.’
      • ‘The flame flickered and then burnt fiercely, casting a warm yellow light over the small study.’
      • ‘And the stars that were splashed across the sky flickered like candle flames.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The flames flickered in the darkness of the lower level and cast eerie shadows over the ground.’
    2. 1.2with 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’
      • ‘Emotions flickered across Michelle's face as she listened to the conversation between the two brothers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I watched the emotions flicker across his face, like a rainbow in a spray of water.’
      • ‘He shook off the feeling immediately and said quietly, the whole time carefully watching the emotions flickering across her face.’
      • ‘I looked up at him and watched the emotions flicker across his face.’
      • ‘Rage briefly flickered in that imperial expression, then she seemed amused again.’
      • ‘Emotions flickered across Mage's face before he once again spoke to his friend.’
      • ‘An undefined emotion flickered over his features briefly before they settled back into a blank gaze.’
      • ‘Not an emotion flickered across Lisa's face as she stared coolly back at the waitress.’
      • ‘It was in that moment that several emotions flickered across the young girl's face.’
      • ‘As Karya's emotions flickered across her face, Aidan's lips were twitching.’
      • ‘Faith had been watching the conflicting emotions flicker over his face.’
      • ‘Amusement flickered briefly over Stone's face before he turned his attention to the package.’
      • ‘Emotions briefly flickered across his blue eyes as they gazed into hers, wide and astonished.’
      • ‘Anger flickered briefly in Kreed's eyes before their expression was quickly masked.’
      • ‘Either way, some inappropriate emotion may flicker across their face.’
      • ‘A thousand painful, confusing emotions flickered through her brain all at once and she pulled away from him sharply.’
      • ‘Morgan watched discreetly as different emotions flickered across her face.’
      • ‘Jamie smirked softly, watching the emotions flicker in Brian's wide blue eyes.’
  • 2Make small, quick movements; flutter rapidly.

    ‘her eyelids flickered’
    with complement ‘the injured killer's eyes flickered open’
    • ‘Apples' eyelashes flickered open slowly before her big gray eyes struggled to adjust to the darkness of the jungle around her.’
    • ‘As they chattered a small striped viper squirmed on top of the map with tongue flickering from open fangs.’
    • ‘After several moments, Karae's eyelids flickered and opened a tiny bit.’
    • ‘She flickered her eyelids open groggily and stifled a yawn.’
    • ‘Before he left, he gave me a quick wink, his eyelid barely flickering.’
    • ‘If your eyelids flickered, he'd sit up waiting for some indication that it wouldn't be long before the first long stroll of the day.’
    • ‘Teresa began to thrash around in Alistairs arms, her eyelids still flickering.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My eyelids flickered open and revealed Jack on a chair next to my bed.’
    • ‘Her eyelids flickered, and soon fatigue took over, and she gave in to sleep.’
    • ‘Her eyelids were flickering, as though she was coming out of sleep, but she had not quite yet gotten there.’
    • ‘The queue screen flickered: five counters open, then four, then three.’
    • ‘The two noticed that Kari was shifting her body, and her eyelids were flickering.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His eyelids flickered as he struggled to regain control of his body.’
    • ‘I felt like bursting when her eyelids flickered ever so slightly.’
    • ‘His syncopated, rapid-fire freestyle flickers between abstract movements and pantomime, but he never loses the beat.’
    flutter, quiver, vibrate, tremble, wobble, shiver, shudder, spasm, jerk, twitch, bat, flap, wink, blink, open and shut
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with adverbial of direction (of someone's eyes) move quickly in a particular direction in order to look at something.
      ‘her alert hazel eyes flickered around the room’
      • ‘His eyes flickered to the other room, knowing they were listening.’
      • ‘Phoenix stood slowly and walked toward Anjiru his eyes flickered in her direction a moment.’
      • ‘When his green eyes flickered toward mine, I quickly turned away and felt blood rush to my face.’
      • ‘Tory's eyes flickered around the room as she tried to avoid looking at anyone.’
      • ‘His mind ranged restlessly, his eyes flickered across the room.’
      • ‘He seemed quite interested, but I watched his eyes flicker quickly back to Willow.’
      • ‘Leah's eyes flickered to him quickly, a smile tugging at her lips, before she looked back to her book.’
      • ‘My eyes flickered across the room until I found a dark figure crouching on the ground.’
      • ‘Sipping it sparingly, my golden eyes flickered in his direction and then away.’
      • ‘His eyes flickered in her direction, then focused back on Malloy.’
      • ‘Gwen declined to comment, though her eyes flickered over the entire room, and what could be seen of the bedroom as she entered.’
      • ‘Her eyes did flicker my way, but quickly returned to their place.’
      • ‘Kayla's eyes flickered across the room and it was indeed a very grand and well kept room.’
      • ‘Her iridescently colored eyes flickered in the direction of the voice, soon followed by a warm smile as she looked to Raek.’
      • ‘The man's eyes flickered across the room, coming to rest on Sally.’
      • ‘The woman smiled, her eyes flickering in Adrianna's direction and then back at the Gypsy Princess.’
      • ‘She joined in a conversation, her eyes flickering in the direction of the room doors.’
      • ‘I saw his eyes flicker in the direction of the instruments.’
      • ‘The other girl walked up to Raven and her hazel eyes flickered to me for a second.’
      • ‘His eyes flickered around the room, seeing armed guards standing around the group on the bed, spears pointed at them.’

noun

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

    ‘the flicker of a candle flame caught our eyes’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The dark flicker's still gone, no matter where I look, replaced by the flicker of fluorescent pipe lighting above me.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The bright flicker of the candles lit the room and colored their cheeks as they stood before the kingdom's legion of Royal advisors.’
    • ‘And there it would be, the horizon ablaze with light where the gleaming flames of candles met the distant flicker of stars.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They stayed late beside its glow, a flicker of light barely visible to us through the trees.’
    • ‘As flickers of light illuminate the whole great space, the choir begins to sing: Surrexit Christus, ‘Christ Is Risen.’’
    • ‘He had summoned the Princess only just in time for her to see the last flicker of the flames.’
    • ‘Thundering flickers of light flashed across the late night sky, the tattle tale sign of the oncoming storm.’
    • ‘Suddenly, there was an electric-arc flicker of harsh bluish light and a crackling noise from inside her closet!’
    • ‘Abruptly, the strange, unsteady flickers of light coalesced, solidifying as a small spark of flame grew within their depths.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A flicker of light shone through the crack between the door and the carpet.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All you manage to see is a little flicker of light, following by a throaty rumble of thunder.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When the flame calmed down to a gentle flicker, I carefully lit the cigarette, breathing in slowly.’
    1. 1.1 Fluctuations 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.
      • ‘With the exception of some minor flicker here and there, it's a solid effort.’
      • ‘I did notice some scratches and odd patches of flicker, but otherwise Warner outdid themselves on the transfer.’
      • ‘In these films, even video flicker becomes substance.’
      • ‘Restored in 1999, the film holds up well, apart from a bit of flicker in spots.’
      • ‘In about a third of the homes I saw the sickly blue flicker of televisions bleeding through the curtains.’
      • ‘I saw no apparent bad pixels, interlace flicker, or LCD display streaking.’
      • ‘Some occasional flicker in solid-color areas was noted, but the effect lasted only a short time.’
      • ‘Movies do something similar through lighting, framing and the subliminal flicker of film itself.’
      • ‘These are loop printing and flicker effects achieved through frenetic re-editing of the material.’
      • ‘Even more detail can be included in the same amount of time, resulting in pictures with less flicker.’
      • ‘I just lay there watching the view screen flicker in and out.’
      • ‘Jitter and flicker are two different phenomena, but both can drive you to distraction when you're trying to get work done.’
      • ‘The print appears to be slightly washed out with occasional flicker, affecting Kieslowski's subtle use of lighting.’
      • ‘If you work with a computer, the right monitor is important, as flicker and poor image quality can cause eye strain and fatigue.’
      • ‘You get a smoother image with less flicker and scan lines are hardly noticeable.’
      • ‘The quality of the transfer seems fine but not outstanding, although in one scene some notable flicker appears.’
      • ‘Aside from some flicker during the opening credit sequence, there is nothing to detract from the haunting visuals of the film.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The work will target the key impairments of film flicker and unsteadiness, both of which interfere substantially with viewing.’
      • ‘The picture is also dark, hazy, dirty, murky, and marred by shimmering and flicker.’
  • 2A tiny movement.

    ‘then a flicker of movement caught his eye’
    • ‘Near the mistline a flicker of movement in the uppermost section of waterfall caught our attention.’
    • ‘A flicker of movement at the corner of his eye drew his attention away, and Seira tore his gaze away.’
    • ‘She thought she caught a flicker of movement out of the corner of her eye and turned to peer intently that way.’
    • ‘He gave a thumbs-up and saw a flicker of movement from the shadows.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I saw a flicker of movement from the shadowy hall.’
    • ‘He saw a flicker of movement in the trees, and he climbed forward quietly, creeping up on Devoss.’
    • ‘Doune glanced up at the sign of a flicker of movement above him.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a flicker of movement.’
    • ‘As I walked behind him, he turned and faced me, and at that moment I turned my head at a flicker of movement coming from the corner of the house.’
    • ‘In a patient with an Achilles rupture, only a flicker of movement on the pressure gauge is discernible with dorsiflexion.’
    • ‘A flicker of movement, about a hundred yards from the gate suddenly drawing his attention.’
    • ‘I stop for a moment and I see a flicker of movement.’
    • ‘He caught a flicker of movement off to his right and vaguely heard the soft sounds of a small stream.’
    • ‘There was a flicker of movement at the corner of my eye, and I threw myself to the side instinctively.’
    • ‘Again, as in the other dream, she saw a flicker of movement, but this time she followed it.’
    1. 2.1 A brief feeling or indication of emotion.
      ‘a flicker of a smile passed across her face’
      ‘she felt a flicker of alarm’
      • ‘He does precious little with the text, however, registering not so much as a flicker of emotional anguish.’
      • ‘Every gesture of this mime can be watched with delight, and every flicker of emotion across his expressive face.’
      • ‘After a brief flicker of excitement, the game has descended into monotony again.’
      • ‘He gave no indication of her staring, no flicker of emotion, just a bare hint of amusement in his lips, then it was gone.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With feral satisfaction she saw the brief flicker of wariness in her enemy's stance - and for good reason.’
      • ‘His face did not alter, but a brief flicker of pride and amusement danced in the Duke's eye as he glanced down at the lady's protruding stomach.’
      • ‘The Princess's reaction was typically stony as judgment was handed down, betraying not a flicker of emotion.’
      • ‘I watched emotion flicker across his face, but then his eyes hid behind the mask I'm so used to seeing.’
      • ‘They are not merely unthinking savages: even in Goethe we have the faintest flicker of humanity.’
      • ‘With an emotionless flicker of a smile, Fiera gave Snug a gentle squeeze.’
      • ‘But the only hate we feel will be a brief flicker at ourselves, for letting you make us so angry today.’
      • ‘There's a flicker of a smile on his lips, so he probably means a hacienda with vineyards and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.’
      • ‘But Clark sees something change in his eyes, some infinitesimal flicker of emotion.’
      • ‘No flicker of emotion showed on the lifeguard's face.’
      • ‘But the faintest flicker of a smile made him seem approachable and loveable in a sorrowful way.’
      • ‘They'd only stared at each other for a moment before he looked away and closed the last curtain, but Misha had been certain a flicker of emotion had crossed his face.’
      • ‘Areal watched her friend walk off, and then a flicker of emotions came over Dido's face when she turned to look at him.’
      • ‘Her father gave her to Yuugi, who accepted her hand, but didn't show any flicker of emotion or anything else.’
      • ‘Even so, the artist's disparate styles of portrait and cartoon clash with only a flicker of emotional spark.’
      • ‘For a brief moment, a flicker of desire flashed across his face, then was gone as quickly as it had appeared.’
      • ‘She licked her lips and he let a brief flicker of disgust cross his face, rolling his eyes and turning away.’
      • ‘She was glad that a faint flicker of guilt passed over Ella's features, but it vanished as quickly as it had appeared.’
      • ‘I have to wonder that when a brief flicker of sanity hits me.’
      • ‘Mr Wilkinson eyes me thoughtfully and I see some hidden emotion flicker in his eyes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You get small flickers of different emotions playing in our golden playboy's eyes so he's not stone cold after all.’
      • ‘I see her in every beautiful woman, in every danger that threatens to overtake me, in every heartbeat, every flicker of emotion.’
      • ‘Bam was close to me again and there was a faint flicker of hope.’
      • ‘He sighed, and as I turned to face him, I saw a brief flicker of rage cross his face.’
      • ‘However, no flicker of emotion passed over his face as he - mentally - glared.’
      • ‘He just looked down at her for a moment and she thought she saw some kind of emotion flicker in and out of his eyes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You find it in the expressions on his face while he sleeps, the way he stretches as he wakes and the flicker of a smile he gives you every so often.’
      • ‘For the few seconds she stared into my eyes I saw something flicker, a brief flicker of pain that was gone before I could ask.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For a brief moment, a flicker of the old, frightened Clarice Bridger made its way across Liral's face.’
      • ‘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.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • flicker out

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

      • ‘Almost at its mention the flame flickered out, leaving them in darkness.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Almost as if the lightning and the power had struck a deal, the lights flickered out throughout the hallway.’
      • ‘It at last flickers out completely, leaving me in the dim light of dusk.’
      • ‘The flame from the arrow flickered out and everything went black again.’
      • ‘The tableau froze, motionless, and the flame of the memorial flickered out, and the stage became dark.’
      • ‘Still watching the candle, the flame flickered out for a few moments before coming back to life.’
      • ‘The lights flickered out and Sniper sat, staring into the darkness of the room.’
      • ‘Half way there the lights on my dashboard flickered out, and no amount of fiddling with the fuses would make any difference.’
      • ‘The flame flickered out and Shaidanna's eyes dimmed back to normal.’
      • ‘She's already asleep by the time the light flickers out and leaves a pale, greenish afterglow.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The lights flickered out, sending the room into pitch darkness.’
      • ‘Sighing I was just about to give in to my sleep deprived brain and allow it some rest when the dome light flickered out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She sighed again and put the sunglasses on just as the lights flickered out and the fire died with a small poof.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I held onto her as her eyes glazed over and the light of life flickered out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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

/ˈflɪkər//ˈflikər/

Main definitions of flicker in English

: flicker1flicker2

flicker2

noun

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

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

Origin

Early 19th century: imitative of its call.

Pronunciation

flicker

/ˈflikər//ˈflɪkər/