Word of the Day: flare

 
 
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Word Reference
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Word of the Day
 
December 14, 2015
 
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flare (verb, noun) sound LISTEN icon
 
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As a verb, flare means 'to burn with a sudden intensity' or 'to burn in an unsteady way.' Figuratively, it is used to talk about emotions or people that suddenly explode violently. As a noun, a flare refers to the moment when a fire or light becomes more intense. Flare also means 'to be or become wider at the bottom.'
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Example sentences
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The fire flared for a minute after we added paper.
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We could see the candles flaring through the window.
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Violence flared after the governor's unpopular announcement.
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Tim's face looked red in the flare of the fire.
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She bought a beautiful dress with sleeves that flared from the elbows.
 
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Multi-word forms
 

flare gun: a device used mainly by ships to call for help when they are in danger; it shoots out a bright device (also called a flare) that lights up the sky to get attention: "After the ship hit the rocks, the captain shot his flare gun to signal for help."

flare up: get really angry: "John always flares up when anyone mentions his big nose."

Did you know?
 
Flares, always in the plural, is the name of a specific type of pants worn mainly in the 1960s and 1970s. They are also called bell-bottoms and their main feature is that they get wider from the knees down. Today they are also called boot-cut, but they don't get as wide as the ones in the 70s did.
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Origin
 
Flare dates back to the mid-16th century. Originally, it meant 'to spread out' and was said of hair, a ship's sides, etc.; it may have come from the Old English word flǣre, meaning 'either of the spreading sides at the end of the nose.'
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Additional information
 
Flare has specific meanings in sports, astronomy, and photography. Check them out in the full definition!
 
See full definition
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Learn more about flare in our forums
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