General English

General Science

  • verb to turn a source of light on and off


  • verb to give off light in regular bursts

Cars & Driving

  • verb to use one’s direction indicators
  • verb to switch one’s headlights on and off quickly


  • verb to increase and lower the brightness of a cursor to provide an indicator


  • To make a joint weathertightusing flashing.
  • An intentional or accidental color variation on the surface of a brick.
  • A variation in paint color resulting from variable wall absorption.
  • The conversion of condensate into steam.


  • verb to play a ball passing outside the off stump with a quick, involuntary movement of the bat, often withdrawing the bat again hastily in an attempt to avoid making contact with the ball
    Citation ‘England were 193 for six and after two punishing fours Botham flashed at a short one from Thomson and was caught by Chappell at first slip’ (Henry Blofeld, Cricketer February 1983)
    Citation ‘Both were off Muralitharan and both to shortish balls outside off stump at which Cook flashed, once without contact but the other producing the four which flew between wicketkeeper and slip’ (Steve James, Guardian 12 May 2006)


  • A repeatable and artificially produced burst of bright light. Such a flash is usually generated by applying a high voltage to an electrode of a tube containing an inert gas such as xenon. The gas becomes ionized, which permits it to rapidly discharge the energy previously stored in a capacitor. Used, for instance, in photography. Also called photoflash, strobe (3), or electronic flash.
  • To occur suddenly, or to proceed rapidly.
  • To press a telephone switchhook briefly to access a function such as call waiting, or three-way calling. Also, a button so labeled. Also, to press a button so labeled. Also called hook flash.
  • To write onto flash memory.
  • (written as Flash)
    A technology utilized for the creation of Web multimedia content, such as animation and streaming graphics. Also, the software utilized for such creations, and the file format. Content is usually displayed by having the appropriate browser plug-ins.


  • verb to brown the surface of a cooked dish very quickly under a very hot grill or in a very hot oven

Media Studies

  • noun a device used in photography to produce a short bright flash of light
  • noun the brief moment when a subject is brightly lit for photographic to be taken
  • noun an important news story that is broadcast immediately.
  • verb to broadcast a newsflash, often interrupting a scheduled programme


  • noun a coloured patch of cloth worn on the uniform to distinguish a unit or grouping
  • verb to send a radio message with the highest priority


  • noun the addition of light in exposing a halftone, so as to make the dots on the picture stronger

Real Estate

  • verb to fix flashing to a part of a roof or window


  • adjective ostentatious, showing off. Since the 1960s, especially in Britain and Australia, this form has tended to replace the earlier ‘flashy’.
  • noun a glimpse of, or deliberate exposure of, the genitals, breasts, underwear, etc.
  • noun a street trader’s display of goods
  • noun an ugly or unattractive female, minger. The derivation ‘because she mings mercilessly’ is from the Flash Gordon cartoons and film in which the villain is ‘Ming the Merciless’.

Origin & History of “flash”

The earliest recorded use of flash is as a verb, referring to the swift turbulent splashing movement of water (a memory of which is probably preserved in modern English flash flood). The glints of light on the splashing surface of such water seems to have given rise in the 16th century, or perhaps before, to the main present-day sense of the word ‘burst out with sudden light’. It was presumably originally imitative of the sound of splashing water.