Definition of flash verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//flæʃ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//flæʃ//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they flash
    BrE BrE//flæʃ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//flæʃ//
    he / she / it flashes
    BrE BrE//ˈflæʃɪz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈflæʃɪz//
    past simple flashed
    BrE BrE//flæʃt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//flæʃt//
    past participle flashed
    BrE BrE//flæʃt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//flæʃt//
    -ing form flashing
    BrE BrE//ˈflæʃɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈflæʃɪŋ//
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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 somebody 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 at somebody Why is that driver flashing at us?
  4. show quickly
  5. 3[transitive] flash something at somebody to show something to somebody 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] (informal) if a man flashes, he shows his sexual organs in public
  18. Word OriginMiddle English (in the sense ‘splash water about’): probably imitative; compare with flush ‘cleanse’ and splash.Extra examples A car flashed its headlights at me. Her eyes flashed angrily. Her eyes suddenly flashed with anger. It was only the sun, flashing briefly on her bleached hair. Police cars arrived with their blue lights flashing. Signs announcing the different airport terminals were flashing by. The countryside flashed past as we sped along.Idioms
    flash somebody a smile, look, etc.
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    to smile, look, etc. at somebody suddenly and quickly
    Phrasal Verbsflash something aroundflash back (to something)flash byflash on somebodyflash on something
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: flash