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, 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 — 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 …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • 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 — 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 …   Словарь американских идиом

  • 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

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