a brief, sudden burst of bright light: a flash of lightning.
a sudden, brief outburst or display of joy, wit, etc.
a very brief moment; instant: I'll be back in a flash.
Informal. flashlight ( def 1 ).
superficial, meretricious, or vulgar showiness; ostentatious display.
Also called news flash. Journalism. a brief dispatch sent by a wire service, usually transmitting preliminary news of an important story or development. Compare bulletin ( def 2 ).
bright artificial light thrown briefly upon a subject during an exposure.
the sudden flame or intense heat produced by a bomb or other explosive device.
a sudden thought, insight, inspiration, or vision.
Slang. rush ( def 25 ).
a ridge of metal left on a casting by a seam between parts of the mold.
a ridge formed at the edge of a forging or weld where excess metal has been squeezed out.
Poker. a hand containing all five suits in a game played with a five-suit pack.
a device, as a lock or sluice, for confining and releasing water to send a boat down a shallow stream.
the rush of water thus produced.
Obsolete. the cant or jargon of thieves, vagabonds, etc.
verb (used without object)
to break forth into sudden flame or light, especially transiently or intermittently: a buoy flashing in the distance.
to gleam.
to burst suddenly into view or perception: The answer flashed into his mind.
to move like a flash.
to speak or behave with sudden anger, outrage, or the like (often followed by out ): to flash out at a stupid remark.
to break into sudden action.
Slang. to open one's clothes and expose the genitals suddenly, and usually briefly, in public.
Slang. to experience the intense effects of a narcotic or stimulant drug.
to dash or splash, as the sea or waves.
Archaic. to make a flash or sudden display.
verb (used with object)
to emit or send forth (fire or light) in sudden flashes.
to cause to flash, as powder by ignition or a sword by waving.
to send forth like a flash.
to communicate instantaneously, as by radio or telegraph.
to make an ostentatious display of: He's forever flashing a large roll of bills.
to display suddenly and briefly: She flashed her ID card at the guard.
to change (water) instantly into steam by pouring or directing onto a hot surface.
to increase the flow of water in (a river, channel, etc.).
Glassmaking and Ceramics.
to coat (plain glass or a glass or ceramic object) with a layer of colored, opalescent, or white glass.
to apply (such a layer).
to color or make (glass) opaque by reheating.
Building Trades. to protect from leakage with flashing.
Cards. to expose (a card) in the process of dealing.
Archaic. to dash or splash (water).
sudden and brief: a flash storm.
showy or ostentatious.
caused by or used as protection against flash: flash injuries; flash clothing.
counterfeit or sham.
belonging to or connected with thieves, vagabonds, etc., or their cant or jargon.
of or pertaining to followers of boxing, racing, etc.
flash in the pan,
a brief, intense effort that produces no really significant result.
a person who makes such an effort; one who enjoys short-lived success.
flash on, Slang.
to have a sudden thought, insight, or inspiration about.
to have a sudden, vivid memory or mental picture of: I just flashed on that day we spent at the lake.
to feel an instantaneous understanding and appreciation of.

1350–1400; Middle English flasshen to sprinkle, splash, earlier flask(i)en; probably phonesthemic in orig.; compare similar expressive words with fl- and -sh

flashingly, adverb
outflash, verb (used with object)

1. flare, gleam, glare. 3. twinkling, wink. 18. scintillate. Flash, glance, glint, glitter mean to send forth a sudden gleam (or gleams) of bright light. To flash is to send forth light with a sudden, transient brilliancy: A shooting star flashed briefly. To glance is to emit a brilliant flash of light as a reflection from a smooth surface: Sunlight glanced from the glass windshield. Glint suggests a hard bright gleam of reflected light, as from something polished or burnished: Light glints from silver or from burnished copper. To glitter is to reflect intermittent flashes of light from a hard surface: Ice glitters in the moonlight. 40. flashy, gaudy, tawdry; pretentious, superficial. 42. false, fake.
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a precedence code for handling messages about initial enemy contact or operational combat messages of extreme urgency within the U.S. military.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
flash (flæʃ)
1.  a sudden short blaze of intense light or flame: a flash of sunlight
2.  a sudden occurrence or display, esp one suggestive of brilliance: a flash of understanding
3.  a very brief space of time: over in a flash
4.  an ostentatious display: a flash of her diamonds
5.  Also called: newsflash a short news announcement concerning a new event
6.  chiefly (Brit) Also called: patch an insignia or emblem worn on a uniform, vehicle, etc, to identify its military formation
7.  a patch of bright colour on a dark background, such as light marking on an animal
8.  a volatile mixture of inorganic salts used to produce a glaze on bricks or tiles
9.  a.  a sudden rush of water down a river or watercourse
 b.  a device, such as a sluice, for producing such a rush
10.  informal photog flashlight short for flash photography
11.  a ridge of thin metal or plastic formed on a moulded object by the extrusion of excess material between dies
12.  dialect (Yorkshire), (Lancashire) a pond, esp one produced as a consequence of subsidence
13.  (modifier) involving, using, or produced by a flash of heat, light, etc: flash blindness; flash distillation
14.  flash in the pan a project, person, etc, that enjoys only short-lived success, notoriety, etc
15.  informal ostentatious or vulgar
16.  informal of or relating to gamblers and followers of boxing and racing
17.  sham or counterfeit
18.  informal relating to or characteristic of the criminal underworld
19.  brief and rapid: flash freezing
20.  to burst or cause to burst suddenly or intermittently into flame
21.  to emit or reflect or cause to emit or reflect light suddenly or intermittently
22.  (intr) to move very fast: he flashed by on his bicycle
23.  (intr) to come rapidly (into the mind or vision)
24.  (intr; foll by out or up) to appear like a sudden light: his anger really flashes out at times
25.  a.  to signal or communicate very fast: to flash a message
 b.  to signal by use of a light, such as car headlights
26.  informal (tr) to display ostentatiously: to flash money around
27.  informal (tr) to show suddenly and briefly
28.  slang (Brit) (intr) to expose oneself indecently
29.  (tr) to cover (a roof) with flashing
30.  to send a sudden rush of water down (a river, etc), or to carry (a vessel) down by this method
31.  (in the making of glass) to coat (glass) with a thin layer of glass of a different colour
32.  (tr) to subject to a brief pulse of heat or radiation
33.  (tr) to change (a liquid) to a gas by causing it to hit a hot surface
34.  obsolete to splash or dash (water)
[C14 (in the sense: to rush, as of water): of unknown origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., from flasken (c.1300) "to dash or splash" (as water), probably imitative. Related: Flashed. Sense of "give off a sudden burst of light or flame" is 1540s, as is the noun. Meaning "photographic lamp" is from 1913. Flash in the pan (1809) is from old-style guns, where the powder might ignite
in the pan but fail to spark the main charge. Flash flood is from 1940; flash point (also flashpoint) is from 1878, figurative use by 1955.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

Flash definition

file format, World-Wide Web
(Or "Shockwave Flash") A file format for delivering interactive vector graphics and animation on the World-Wide Web, developed by Macromedia.

flash definition

1. Adobe Flash.
2. flash memory.
2. A program to flood a Unix user's terminal with garbage by exploiting a security hole in the talk daemon.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idiom beginning with flash, also see in a flash; quick as a wink (flash).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences for FLASH
Composition with the character of bipropellants and flash powders are often
With billy numerous, but the group was defeated by kid flash.
It is implemented in flash and uses vector graphics, some of which are animated.
Later, magnesium ribbon was used in electrically ignited flash bulbs.
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