American English

Definition of flash verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they flash
    he / she / it flashes
    past simple flashed
    -ing form flashing
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    shine brightly
  1. 1[intransitive, transitive] to shine very brightly for a short time; to make something shine in this way Lightning flashed in the distance. the flashing blue lights of a police car Start crossing when the green WALK sign starts to flash. + adv./prep. A neon sign flashed on and off above the door. flash something The guide flashed a light into the cave.
  2. give signal
  3. 2[transitive, intransitive] to use a light to give someone a signal flash something (at somebody) Red lights flashed a warning at them. Why is that driver flashing his lights at us? flash somebody (something) Red lights flashed them a warning. flash (something at) somebody Why is that driver flashing his lights at us?
  4. show quickly
  5. 3[transitive] flash something at somebody to show something to someone quickly He flashed his pass at the security officer.
  6. move quickly
  7. 4[intransitive] + adv./prep. to move or pass very quickly The countryside flashed past the train windows. A look of terror flashed across his face.
  8. of thoughts/memories
  9. 5[intransitive] + adv./prep. to come into your mind suddenly A terrible thought flashed through my mind.
  10. on screen
  11. 6[intransitive, transitive] to appear on a television screen, computer screen, etc. for a short time; to make something do this A message was flashing on his pager. flash (something) (up) His name was flashed up on the screen.
  12. send news
  13. 7[transitive] flash something + adv./prep. to send information quickly by radio, computer, etc. News of their triumph was flashed around the world.
  14. show emotion
  15. 8[intransitive] (+ adv./prep.) (literary) to show a strong emotion suddenly and quickly Her eyes flashed with anger. Fear flashed in his eyes.
  16. of a man
  17. 9[intransitive, transitive] (informal) if a man flashes, he shows his sexual organs in public
  18. Idioms
    flash somebody a smile, look, etc.
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    to smile, look, etc. at someone suddenly and quickly
    Phrasal Verbsflash something aroundflash back (to something)flash by/pastflash on somethingflash on somebody
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: flash