Topic: CRIME

Date: 1200-1300
Origin: Originally (of liquid) 'to strike a surface'; from the sound


1 verb
flash1 S3


[intransitive and transitive] to shine suddenly and brightly for a short time, or to make something shine in this way:
Lightning flashed overhead.
flash something into/at/towards somebody/something
Why is that guy flashing his headlights at me?
Red warning lights flashed on and off (=shone for a short time and then stopped shining).


[intransitive always + adverb/preposition]AM to be shown quickly on television, on a computer, or on a film
flash across/onto/past etc
Images of the war flashed across the screen.

flash through somebody's mind/head/brain

if thoughts, images, memories etc flash through your mind, you suddenly think of them or remember them:
The possibility that Frank was lying flashed through my mind.

flash a smile/glance/look etc (at somebody)

to smile or look at someone quickly and for a short time:
'I love this city,' he said, flashing a big smile.

show something quickly

[transitive] to show something to someone for only a short time:
He flashed his identification card.


[transitive always + adverb/preposition]TCB to send news or information somewhere quickly by radio, computer, or satellite
flash something across/to something
Reporters at the scene flashed the news to their offices.

move quickly

[intransitive always + adverb/preposition] to move very quickly
flash by/past/through
A meteor flashed through the sky.


[intransitive] literary if your eyes flash, they look very bright for a moment, especially because of a sudden emotion
flash with
Janet's blue eyes flashed with anger.

sex organs

[intransitive and transitive]SCC if a man flashes, or if he flashes someone, he shows his sexual organs in public [↪ flasher]

somebody's life flashes before their eyes

if someone's life flashes before their eyes, they suddenly remember many events from their life because they are in great danger and might die

time passing quickly

[intransitive always + adverb/preposition] if a period of time or an event flashes by or flashes past, it seems to end very quickly
flash by/past
Our vacation seemed to just flash by.

flash something ↔ around

phrasal verb
to use or show something in a way that will make people notice you and think you have a lot of money:
He's always flashing his money around.

flash back

phrasal verb
to suddenly think about or show something that happened in the past, especially in a film, book etc
flash back to
From here the movie flashes back to Billy's first meeting with Schultz.

flash forward

phrasal verb
if a film, book etc flashes forward, it shows what happens in the future
flash forward to
The movie then flashes forward to their daughter's fifth birthday.

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