To flash in the pan
Flash Flash (fl[a^]sh), v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Flashed} (fl[a^]sht); p. pr. & vb. n. {Flashing}.] [Cf. OE. flaskien, vlaskien to pour, sprinkle, dial. Sw. flasa to blaze, E. flush, flare.] 1. To burst or break forth with a sudden and transient flood of flame and light; as, the lighting flashes vividly; the powder flashed. [1913 Webster]

2. To break forth, as a sudden flood of light; to burst instantly and brightly on the sight; to show a momentary brilliancy; to come or pass like a flash. [1913 Webster]

Names which have flashed and thundered as the watch words of unnumbered struggles. --Talfourd. [1913 Webster]

The object is made to flash upon the eye of the mind. --M. Arnold. [1913 Webster]

A thought flashed through me, which I clothed in act. --Tennyson. [1913 Webster]

3. To burst forth like a sudden flame; to break out violently; to rush hastily. [1913 Webster]

Every hour He flashes into one gross crime or other. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

{flash in the pan}, a failure or a poor performance, especially after a normal or auspicious start; also, a person whose initial performance appears augur success but who fails to achieve anything notable. From 4th {pan}, n., sense 3 -- part of a flintlock. Occasionally, the powder in the pan of a flintlock would flash without conveying the fire to the charge, and the ball would fail to be discharged. Thus, a good or even spectacular beginning that eventually achieves little came to be called a flash in the pan.

{To flash in the pan}, to fail of success, especially after a normal or auspicious start. [Colloq.] See under {Flash}, a burst of light. --Bartlett. [1913 Webster +PJC]

Syn: {Flash}, {Glitter}, {Gleam}, {Glisten}, {Glister}.

Usage: Flash differs from glitter and gleam, denoting a flood or wide extent of light. The latter words may express the issuing of light from a small object, or from a pencil of rays. Flash differs from other words, also, in denoting suddenness of appearance and disappearance. Flashing differs from exploding or disploding in not being accompanied with a loud report. To glisten, or glister, is to shine with a soft and fitful luster, as eyes suffused with tears, or flowers wet with dew. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • flash in the pan — Flash Flash (fl[a^]sh), v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Flashed} (fl[a^]sht); p. pr. & vb. n. {Flashing}.] [Cf. OE. flaskien, vlaskien to pour, sprinkle, dial. Sw. flasa to blaze, E. flush, flare.] 1. To burst or break forth with a sudden and transient… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Flash in the pan — Flash Flash, n.; pl. {Flashes}. 1. A sudden burst of light; a flood of light instantaneously appearing and disappearing; a momentary blaze; as, a flash of lightning. [1913 Webster] 2. A sudden and brilliant burst, as of wit or genius; a momentary …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Flash in the pan — Pan Pan, n. [OE. panne, AS. panne; cf. D. pan, G. pfanne, OHG. pfanna, Icel., Sw., LL., & Ir. panna, of uncertain origin; cf. L. patina, E. paten.] 1. A shallow, open dish or vessel, usually of metal, employed for many domestic uses, as for… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • flash in the pan — ► flash in the pan a sudden but brief success. [ORIGIN: with allusion to the priming of a firearm, the flash arising from an explosion of gunpowder within the lock.] Main Entry: ↑flash …   English terms dictionary

  • flash in the pan — noun someone who enjoys transient success but then fails • Hypernyms: ↑failure, ↑loser, ↑nonstarter, ↑unsuccessful person * * * 1. : the firing of the priming in the pan of a flintlock musket without discharging the piece 2 …   Useful english dictionary

  • flash in the pan — {n. phr.}, {slang} A person or thing that starts out well but does not continue. * /The new quarterback was a flash in the pan./ * /Mary got 100 on the first test in arithmetic but it was just a flash in the pan because she failed in arithmetic./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • flash in the pan — {n. phr.}, {slang} A person or thing that starts out well but does not continue. * /The new quarterback was a flash in the pan./ * /Mary got 100 on the first test in arithmetic but it was just a flash in the pan because she failed in arithmetic./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • flash in the pan —    If something is a flash in the pan, it is very noticeable but doesn t last long, like most singers, who are very successful for a while, then forgotten.   (Dorking School Dictionary)    ***    If you refer to somebody s success as a flash in… …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

  • flash in the pan — noun a) A transient occurrence with no long term effect. The concept turned out to be merely a flash in the pan, and is no longer used. b) A career notable for early success not followed by significant accomplishment …   Wiktionary

  • flash in the pan — Meaning Something which disappoints by being over too quickly. Origin Muskets used to have small pans to hold the gunpowder fuse. If that flared up without firing the gun that would be a flash in the pan …   Meaning and origin of phrases

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”