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  1. a blush; rosy glow: a flush of embarrassment on his face.
  2. a rushing or overspreading flow, as of water.
  3. a sudden rise of emotion or excitement: a flush of anger.
  4. glowing freshness or vigor: the flush of youth.
  5. hot flush. hot flash.
  6. a cleansing preparation that acts by flushing: an oil flush for the car's engine.
verb (used with object)
  1. to redden; cause to blush or glow: Winter air flushed the children's cheeks.
  2. to flood or spray thoroughly with water, as for cleansing purposes: They flushed the wall with water and then scrubbed it down.
  3. to wash out (a sewer, toilet, etc.) by a sudden rush of water.
  4. Metallurgy.
    1. to remove slag from (a blast furnace).
    2. to spray (a coke oven) to cool the gases generated and wash away the ammonia and tars distilled.
  5. to animate or excite; inflame: flushed with success.
verb (used without object)
  1. to blush; redden.
  2. to flow with a rush; flow and spread suddenly.
  3. to operate by flushing; undergo flushing: The toilet won't flush.

Origin of flush1

1540–50; perhaps extended senses of flush3; compare similar phonesthemic elements and meanings of blush, gush, flash
Related formsflush·a·ble, adjectiveflush·er, nounflush·ing·ly, adverbflush·ness, noun


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3. access, rush, flood, impulse, thrill.


  1. even or level, as with a surface; forming the same plane: The bottom of the window is flush with the floor.
  2. having direct contact; being right next to; immediately adjacent; contiguous: The table was flush against the wall.
  3. well-supplied, as with money; affluent; prosperous: He was feeling flush on payday.
  4. abundant or plentiful, as money.
  5. having a ruddy or reddish color; blushing.
  6. full of vigor; lusty.
  7. full to overflowing.
  8. Printing. even or level with the right margin (flush right) or the left margin (flush left) of the type page; without an indention.
  1. on the same level; in a straight line; without a change of plane: to be made flush with the top of the table.
  2. in direct contact; squarely: It was set flush against the edge.
verb (used with object)
  1. to make flush or even.
  2. to improve the nutrition of (a ewe) to bring on optimum physiological conditions for breeding.
verb (used without object)
  1. to send out shoots, as plants in spring.
  1. a fresh growth, as of shoots and leaves.

Origin of flush2

First recorded in 1540–50; perhaps all sense developments of flush1
Related formsflush·ness, noun


verb (used with object)
  1. to rouse and cause to start up or fly off: to flush a woodcock.
verb (used without object)
  1. to fly out or start up suddenly.
  1. a flushed bird or flock of birds.

Origin of flush3

1250–1300; Middle English flusshen, first attested as past participle fluste, fliste; of uncertain origin


  1. consisting entirely of cards of one suit: a flush hand.
  1. a hand or set of cards all of one suit.Compare royal flush, straight flush.
  2. Pinochle. a meld of ace, king, queen, jack, and ten of the trump suit.Compare marriage(def 9), royal marriage.

Origin of flush4

1520–30; compare French (obsolete) flus, variant of flux flow, flush (compare phrase run of cards) < Latin fluxus flux
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for flush

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • There the flush and bloom of newness were oppressive to the right-minded.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • The fingers that held the petal tingled, and a flush rose in her cheek.


    William J. Locke

  • The flush of his own heavy meal kept his pallor from showing.

  • You are all in a flush, now, and have lain down this sheet and said aloud: 'What an idea!

  • "It is something about which I have not thought at all," said Gracie, her pretty face all in a flush.

British Dictionary definitions for flush


  1. to blush or cause to blush
  2. to flow or flood or cause to flow or flood with or as if with water
  3. to glow or shine or cause to glow or shine with a rosy colour
  4. to send a volume of water quickly through (a pipe, channel, etc) or into (a toilet) for the purpose of cleansing, emptying, etc
  5. to cause (soluble substances in the soil) to be washed towards the surface, as by the action of underground springs, or (of such substances) to be washed towards the soil surface
  6. (tr; usually passive) to excite or elate
  1. a rosy colour, esp in the cheeks; blush
  2. a sudden flow or gush, as of water
  3. a feeling of excitement or elationthe flush of success
  4. early bloom; freshnessthe flush of youth
  5. redness of the skin, esp of the face, as from the effects of a fever, alcohol, etc
  6. ecology an area of boggy land fed by ground water
  1. having a ruddy or heightened colour
Derived Formsflusher, noun

Word Origin

C16 (in the sense: to gush forth): perhaps from flush ³


adjective (usually postpositive)
  1. level or even with another surface
  2. directly adjacent; continuous
  3. informal having plenty of money
  4. informal abundant or plentiful, as money
  5. full of vigour
  6. full to the brim or to the point of overflowing
  7. printing having an even margin, right or left, with no indentations
  8. (of a blow) accurately delivered
  9. (of a vessel) having no superstructure built above the flat level of the deck
  1. so as to be level or even
  2. directly or squarely
verb (tr)
  1. to cause (surfaces) to be on the same level or in the same plane
  2. to enrich the diet of (an ewe) during the breeding season
  1. a period of fresh growth of leaves, shoots, etc
Derived Formsflushness, noun

Word Origin

C18: probably from flush 1 (in the sense: spring out)


  1. (tr) to rouse (game, wild creatures, etc) and put to flight

Word Origin

C13 flusshen, perhaps of imitative origin


  1. (in poker and similar games) a hand containing only one suit

Word Origin

C16: from Old French flus, from Latin fluxus flux
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for flush


"fly up suddenly," c.1300, perhaps imitative of the sound of beating wings, or related to flash via its variant flushe. Probably not connected to Old French flux, source of flush (n.).

Transitive meaning "to cause to fly, start" is first attested mid-15c. The sense of "spurt, rush out suddenly, flow with force" (1540s) is probably the same word, with the connecting notion being "sudden movement," but its senses seem more to fit the older ones of flash (now all transferred to this word except in flash flood). Meaning "cleanse a drain, etc., with a rush of water" is from 1789. The noun sense of "sudden redness in the face" (1620s) probably belongs here, too. The verb in this sense is from 1660s. "A very puzzling word" [Weekley]. Related: Flushed; flushing.


1550s, "perfect, faultless;" c.1600, "abundant; plentifully supplied (with money, etc.)," perhaps from flush (v.) through the notion of a river running full, hence level with its banks. Meaning "even, level" is from 1620s.


"hand of cards all of one suit," 1520s, perhaps from Middle French flus (15c.), from Old French flux "a flowing," with the sense of "a run" (of cards), from Latin fluxus "flux," from fluere "to flow" (see fluent). The form in English probably was influenced by flush (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

flush in Medicine


  1. To turn red, as from fever, heat, or strong emotion; blush.
  2. To clean, rinse, or empty with a rapid flow of a liquid, especially water.
  1. An act of cleansing or rinsing with a flow of water.
  2. A reddening of the skin, as with fever, emotion, or exertion.
  3. A brief sensation of heat over all or part of the body.
  1. Having surfaces in the same plane; even.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.