Definition of flare in English:

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Pronunciation: /flɛː/


1A sudden brief burst of bright flame or light: the flare of the match lit up his face
More example sentences
  • He was abruptly cut off as a brief flare of red light flickered around Lexa.
  • There was a brief flare of white light, and the Goddess vanished, leaving only a smattering of loose tinsel behind.
  • Keigen tried to find his friend in the dark, until a flare of light burst into flame beside him.
blaze, flash, dazzle, glare, burst;
unsteady flame, flicker, glimmer, shimmer, gleam
1.1A device producing a very bright flame, used especially as a signal or marker: a distress flare [as modifier]: a flare gun
More example sentences
  • Without these mittens, I would not have been able to even open the zipper on my survival vest, let alone try to work a flare or other signaling device.
  • If I had flares or some other signaling device, I might have been able to get help and medical attention to him sooner, without having to do something risky like blocking traffic.
  • It's not a bad idea to include signaling devices such as mirrors, flares, etc., whether you are in a remote location or not!
distress signal, rocket, Very light, beacon, light, flashlight, signal
1.2 [in singular] A sudden burst of intense emotion: she felt a flare of anger within her
More example sentences
  • His eyes widened a moment, a flare of sudden overwhelming emotion to which he could only stutter.
  • He spoke, in a very businesslike tone, the sudden flare of anger gone from his voice and attitude.
  • She felt a flare of emotion in her chest, but forced that down too - distraction was not needed.
burst, rush, attack, eruption, explosion, bout, spasm
rare access
1.3A sudden recurrence of an inflammation or other medical condition: corticosteroid treatment for colitis flares
More example sentences
  • Other complications include acne flares and dermatitis - inflammation of the skin.
  • Second, they don't address the cause of many flares: the hidden inflammation smoldering in a child's airways.
  • Almost all lupus patients take medication to control inflammation and reduce the risk of flares (periods when the disease gets worse).
1.4 Astronomy A sudden explosion in the chromosphere and corona of the sun or another star, resulting in an intense burst of radiation. See also solar flare.
Example sentences
  • Scientists are still figuring out the role of sunspots in space weather, but they do know that when a flare erupts, sunspots are often nearby.
  • Four minutes after the onset of the big flare, the Harvard Radio Astronomy Station at Fort Davis, Texas, began hearing radio noise from the Sun.
  • Note the white bands buried amid the black and gray sunspots, depicting the twin bands of the flare as it burst into view around the sunspots.
1.5 [mass noun] Photography Extraneous illumination on film caused by internal reflection in the camera.
Example sentences
  • It is however very prone to lens flare - the lens hood basically can be no larger than a hood for a 150 mm lens.
  • I don't think we're seeing the effects of flare on the camera, though - it doesn't look like an optical effect.
  • Prime lenses are less susceptible to lens flare and also have a closer minimum focusing distance than do zooms.
2A gradual widening in shape, especially towards the hem of a garment.
Example sentences
  • It is loose cut through the leg, with a slight flare to add shape.
  • I could actually feel the volume of the bass, and it seemed to me the flares of my trousers were flapping with every beat.
  • No trousers with flares here; instead the cut was close fitting.
widening, spread
2.1 (flares) Trousers whose legs get progressively wider from the knees down.
Example sentences
  • Fashions of the time were tank tops, tonic suits and trousers, flares, and long hair all round.
  • Cobain, a modern dandy in purple flares and kipper tie, is effervescently enthusiastic about all things mind - expanding.
  • Who knows… but if flares, kipper ties and tank tops can make a comeback then I guess anything's possible.
2.2 [mass noun] An upward and outward curve of a ship’s bows, designed to throw the water outwards when in motion.


[no object]
1Burn or shine with a sudden intensity: the bonfire crackled and flared up behind him, lightning flared
More example sentences
  • Heart turned at a sudden crackle and watched as the demonic blades flared and burned, leaving not even scorches where they had fallen.
  • I saw the stars burn and flare against the velvety darkness.
  • Some residents jumped from windows as the blaze flared through the building's entrance.
blaze, flash, flare up, flame, burn unsteadily, burn violently, burn up;
gleam, glow, glisten, sparkle, glitter, flicker, glimmer, scintillate
burn, blaze, be ablaze, be alight, be on fire, be in flames, flame, be aflame;
blaze up, burn up, go up, go up in flames
literary be afire
archaic be ardent
1.1(Of a situation or emotion) suddenly become intense or violent: tempers flared as supporters scuffled with other passengers the controversy flared up again in 2003
More example sentences
  • His men were quoted as saying there are still tribal elements in the city who are resisting their control, and that the situation could flare into fighting if they do not back down.
  • US capital markets have also been a refuge for many in recent years as emerging market crises flared from Russia and Brazil.
  • Nearly 250 priests have resigned or been dismissed from their duties since the crisis flared in January.
recur, reoccur, reappear;
break out, burst out, start suddenly, burst forth, erupt
1.2 (flare up) (Of a person) suddenly become angry: she flared up, shouting at Geoffrey
More example sentences
  • But suddenly, she flared up and pushed him away.
lose one's temper, lose control, become enraged, go into a rage, fly into a temper/passion, boil over, boil over with rage, fire up, go berserk, throw a tantrum, explode
informal blow one's top, fly off the handle, lose one's cool, get mad, go crazy, go wild, go bananas, hit the roof, go through the roof, go up the wall, see red, go off the deep end, blow a fuse/gasket, lose one's rag, go ape, burst a blood vessel, flip, flip one's lid, foam at the mouth, get all steamed up, get worked up, have a fit
British informal go spare, go crackers, do one's nut, get one's knickers in a twist, throw a wobbly
North American informal flip one's wig, blow one's lid/stack, have a cow, go postal, have a conniption fit
vulgar slang go apeshit
2 (often as adjective flared) Gradually become wider at one end: a flared skirt the dress flared out into a huge train
More example sentences
  • It flared out gradually from the hips and there was a slit on two sides.
  • The waist was small and tapered into a V, and the skirt flared out slightly, with filmy layers overlying the dress.
  • Do not give us shirt or raglan sleeves, or ‘shirtwaister’ styles with blousy tops, or flared or pleated skirts in boring patterns.
2.1(Of a person’s nostrils) dilate: his head lifted fractionally, his nostrils flaring
More example sentences
  • It was Sylvie's nose, straight and long, narrowing in the middle just a little before the nostrils flared.
  • Chino's nostrils flared, her ears pricked and her step got springy.
  • Judging from the way his nostrils flared, I wouldn't be able to change whatever set route he was on.
spread, broaden, widen, get wider, expand, splay;
2.2 [with object] (Of a person) cause (the nostrils) to dilate.
Example sentences
  • And then she threw back her head, flared her nostrils and stared at me.
  • Bryony flared her nostrils, catching the scent of cooked meat.
  • He flared his nostrils as he tried to distinguish the smell.


Mid 16th century (in the sense 'spread out one's hair'): of unknown origin. Current senses date from the 17th century.

Words that rhyme with flare

affair, affaire, air, Altair, Althusser, Anvers, Apollinaire, Astaire, aware, Ayer, Ayr, bare, bear, bêche-de-mer, beware, billionaire, Blair, blare, Bonaire, cafetière, care, chair, chargé d'affaires, chemin de fer, Cher, Clair, Claire, Clare, commissionaire, compare, concessionaire, cordon sanitaire, couvert, Daguerre, dare, debonair, declare, derrière, despair, doctrinaire, éclair, e'er, elsewhere, ensnare, ere, extraordinaire, Eyre, fair, fare, fayre, Finisterre, flair, Folies-Bergère, forbear, forswear, foursquare, glair, glare, hair, hare, heir, Herr, impair, jardinière, Khmer, Kildare, La Bruyère, lair, laissez-faire, legionnaire, luminaire, mal de mer, mare, mayor, meunière, mid-air, millionaire, misère, Mon-Khmer, multimillionaire, ne'er, Niger, nom de guerre, outstare, outwear, pair, pare, parterre, pear, père, pied-à-terre, Pierre, plein-air, prayer, questionnaire, rare, ready-to-wear, rivière, Rosslare, Santander, savoir faire, scare, secretaire, share, snare, solitaire, Soufrière, spare, square, stair, stare, surface-to-air, swear, Tailleferre, tare, tear, their, there, they're, vin ordinaire, Voltaire, ware, wear, Weston-super-Mare, where, yeah

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