Definition of flask in English:

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Pronunciation: /flɑːsk/


1A container for liquids, in particular:
Example sentences
  • One of the flasks holds an oily liquid approximating to coffee while the other holds almost-boiling water that might nearly brew a half-strength cup of extra-weak tea.
  • With a few gurgling noises created from his throat, and, evidently, some mucus, he filled the glass to a quarter inch below the brim with the liquid in the flask.
  • He uncorked it, and poured the clear liquid into the flask.
1.1A narrow-necked glass container, typically conical or spherical, used in a laboratory to hold reagents or samples.
Example sentences
  • Levengood tested the metal fragment for the presence of hydrogen by putting a sample in a flask with a weak solution of acetic acid.
  • The GA solution was dried in a rotor evaporator and then incubated under vacuum overnight in a reagent flask.
  • They put methane, ammonia and carbon dioxide in a flask with some water, sparked some electricity through it, and after a week they got a brown sludge which contained amino acids.
1.2A narrow-necked bulbous glass container, typically with a covering of wickerwork, for storing wine or oil.
Example sentences
  • The Tuscan origins of this fiaschetteria (where wine in straw flasks was sold) are honoured in a range of Chianina steak dishes and in a wine list which is strong on Chiantis and Brunellos.
  • When there's no more wine in the flask at my table my friends are happy to drink my water.
  • One parcel, wrapped in cloth, contained bread, cheese, and a small flask of wine.
1.3British A vacuum flask.
Example sentences
  • He got up at six, packed his car with hot-water bottle, shovel, flask and blanket, and took three hours to drive 12 miles.
  • This time the modern-day Lady workers were enjoying a string concert and a glass or two of wine (though I suspect some people smuggled in flasks of rosehip tea).
  • At 8.45 I shall make flasks of strong, black coffee and also have chilled mineral water on hand in case of dehydration.
1.4A hip flask.
Example sentences
  • At the summit, while taking celebratory sips of whiskey from my Kansas City Chiefs flask, we were approached by an athletic couple from Colorado.
  • Cleo had wandered to the sofa and was pulling a flask from her small silver shoulder purse.
  • Between the folds of the bottom towel in the linen closet, he retrieved a silver flask and took several greedy swallows.
1.5The contents of a flask: a flask of coffee
More example sentences
  • We have even found a hot flask of coffee there, so the person certainly wasn't far away.
  • Sitting alone on the stage with only his trademark flask of tea and his pipe for company, the old boy positively exudes optimism.
  • And behind any club at night you will find gangs of sophisticated and gorgeous thirty-somethings swigging guiltily from an illicit flask of vodka.
2An extremely strong lead-lined container for transporting or storing radioactive nuclear waste.
Example sentences
  • Large, who advises governments on nuclear hazards, pointed out that the tests which are designed to ensure the safety of nuclear transport flasks had no scientific basis.
  • ‘Our worst fear is that these trains could be targeted by terrorists who could create the effect of a dirty bomb by blowing up the flasks, sending radioactive material into the atmosphere,’ he said.
  • It also said the nuclear flasks were tested to withstand temperatures of 800-deg C, though fires have been known to reach 1,500-deg C.
3 historical short for powder flask.
Example sentences
  • Sitting on top of shellfish remains were 20 empty gunpowder flasks and loose flask caps.


Middle English (in the sense 'cask'): from medieval Latin flasca. From the mid 16th century the word denoted a case of horn, leather, or metal for carrying gunpowder. The sense 'glass container' (late 17th century) was influenced by Italian fiasco, from medieval Latin flasco. Compare with flagon.

  • fiasco from mid 19th century:

    A fiasco is a ridiculous or humiliating failure. The word was borrowed from Italian in the 19th century. In that language it meant originally ‘a bottle’, but the phrase far fiasco, literally ‘make a bottle’, was used in the theatre to mean ‘fail in a performance’. In medieval English a flask (Middle English) was a cask or skin for holding liquor. The word came from medieval Latin flasca (along with LME flagon) but the 17th-century sense ‘glass container’ was influenced by Italian fiasco.

Words that rhyme with flask

ask, bask, cask, Krasnoyarsk, mask, masque, task
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