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.'
The fire flared for a minute after we added paper.
We could see the candles flaring through the window.
Violence flared after the governor's unpopular announcement.
Tim's face looked red in the flare of the fire.
She bought a beautiful dress with sleeves that flared from the elbows.
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.
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.'
Flare has specific meanings in sports, astronomy, and photography. Check them out in the full definition!