There are 2 main definitions of flicker in English:

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flicker 1

Syllabification: flick·er
Pronunciation: /ˈflikər/


[no object]
1(Of light or a source of light) shine unsteadily; vary rapidly in brightness: the interior lights flickered and came on
More example sentences
  • There were no bright lights flickering on and off giving you a headache.
  • Without any warning, the lights flickered then turned on brightly.
  • A bright light flickered from the other side of the window and firecrackers popped all over the room.
1.1(Of a flame) burn fitfully, alternately flaring up and dying down: the candle flickered again (as adjective flickering) the flickering flames of the fire
More example sentences
  • Small dying flames flickered on his body, and he did nothing to remove them, as if the flames were merely a mirage.
  • Nick's eyes burned, small flames flickering within his pupils.
  • The flame flickered and then burnt fiercely, casting a warm yellow light over the small study.
1.2 [with adverbial of place] (Of a feeling or emotion) be experienced or show itself briefly and faintly, especially in someone’s eyes: amusement flickered briefly in his eyes
More example sentences
  • An undefined emotion flickered over his features briefly before they settled back into a blank gaze.
  • Those gathered at the gates of Longannet witnessed the despair of many, and the anger flickering briefly across some faces.
  • Emotions briefly flickered across his blue eyes as they gazed into hers, wide and astonished.
2Make small, quick movements; flutter rapidly: her eyelids flickered [with complement]: the injured killer’s eyes flickered open
More example sentences
  • My eyelids flickered open and revealed Jack on a chair next to my bed.
  • Saka's eyelids flickered, then popped open to reveal cerulean eyes with no pupils that Ayane could see.
  • After several moments, Karae's eyelids flickered and opened a tiny bit.
flutter, quiver, tremble, shiver, shudder, spasm, jerk, twitch
2.1 [with adverbial of direction] (Of someone’s eyes) move quickly in a particular direction in order to look at something: her alert hazel eyes flickered around the room
More example sentences
  • She joined in a conversation, her eyes flickering in the direction of the room doors.
  • His eyes flickered in her direction, then focused back on Malloy.
  • Her iridescently colored eyes flickered in the direction of the voice, soon followed by a warm smile as she looked to Raek.


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1An unsteady movement of a flame or light that causes rapid variations in brightness: the flicker of a candle flame caught our eyes
More example sentences
  • The bright flicker of the candles lit the room and colored their cheeks as they stood before the kingdom's legion of Royal advisors.
  • Abruptly, the strange, unsteady flickers of light coalesced, solidifying as a small spark of flame grew within their depths.
  • They stayed late beside its glow, a flicker of light barely visible to us through the trees.
1.1Fluctuations in the brightness of a movie or television image such as occur when the number of frames per second is too small or the refresh rate too low for persistence of vision.
Example sentences
  • In these films, even video flicker becomes substance.
  • You get a smoother image with less flicker and scan lines are hardly noticeable.
  • Movies do something similar through lighting, framing and the subliminal flicker of film itself.
2A tiny movement: then a flicker of movement caught his eye
More example sentences
  • He caught a flicker of movement off to his right and vaguely heard the soft sounds of a small stream.
  • She thought she caught a flicker of movement out of the corner of her eye and turned to peer intently that way.
  • She kept low and watched the wagons disappear, but a flicker of movement caught her eye and she turned her head in time to see a red spider logo on the back of a jacket.
2.1A brief feeling or indication of emotion: a flicker of a smile passed across her face she felt a flicker of alarm
More example sentences
  • They are not merely unthinking savages: even in Goethe we have the faintest flicker of humanity.
  • I see her in every beautiful woman, in every danger that threatens to overtake me, in every heartbeat, every flicker of emotion.
  • Bam was close to me again and there was a faint flicker of hope.

Phrasal verbs

flicker out
(Of a flame or light) die away and go out after a series of flickers.
Example sentences
  • She's already asleep by the time the light flickers out and leaves a pale, greenish afterglow.
  • She vividly recalled wading through the rapidly filling hallways, the lights flickering out, water rushing through a door, overtaking a man and his young son.
  • As she left, the lights started flickering out in the video game area, and the persistent whirring of the lane polishers shuddered to a halt.
1.1(Of a feeling) die away and finally disappear: the swift burst of curiosity and eagerness flickered out


Old English flicorian, flycerian 'to flutter', probably of Germanic origin and related to Low German flickern and Dutch flikkeren.

Words that rhyme with flicker

bicker, clicker, dicker, kicker, liquor, nicker, picker, pricker, shicker, slicker, snicker, sticker, ticker, tricker, vicar, whicker, Wicca, wicker
Definition of flicker in:
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There are 2 main definitions of flicker in English:

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flicker 2 Syllabification: flick·er
Pronunciation: /ˈflikər/


An American woodpecker that often feeds on ants on the ground.
  • Genus Colaptes, family Picidae: several species, in particular the common flicker (C. auratus), occurring in two forms that are distinguished by the underside of the tail and wings, which may be yellow (yellow-shafted flicker) or salmon red (red-shafted flicker)
Example sentences
  • Woodpeckers, flickers, chickadees and nuthatches are among the many species that benefit from it.
  • Unlike most woodpeckers, flickers spend a lot of time on the ground probing for ants.
  • The preserve, wild with birdsong, was thick with robins, flickers, grackles, blackbirds, catbirds, and doves.


Early 19th century: imitative of its call.

Definition of flicker in:
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