emitting flames; blazing; burning; fiery.
like a flame in brilliance, heat, or shape.
intensely ardent or passionate: flaming youth.
Informal. (used as an intensifier) What a flaming idiot!
Informal: Usually Disparaging and Offensive. (especially of a man) blatantly gay: He's a flaming queen!

Origin of flaming

First recorded in 1350–1400, flaming is from the Middle English word flammande. See flame, -ing2
Related formsflam·ing·ly, adverbun·flam·ing, adjective




burning gas or vapor, as from wood or coal, that is undergoing combustion; a portion of ignited gas or vapor.
Often flames. the state or condition of blazing combustion: to burst into flames.
any flamelike condition; glow; inflamed condition.
brilliant light; scintillating luster.
bright coloring; a streak or patch of color.
intense ardor, zeal, or passion.
Informal. an object of one's passionate love; sweetheart: He's taking out his new flame tonight.
Computer Slang. an angry, critical, or disparaging electronic message, as an online comment.

verb (used without object), flamed, flam·ing.

to burn with a flame or flames; burst into flames; blaze.
to glow like flame; shine brilliantly; flash.
to burn or burst forth with strong emotion; break into open anger, indignation, etc.
Computer Slang. to post an angry, critical, or disparaging electronic message, as an online comment.

verb (used with object), flamed, flam·ing.

to subject to the action of flame or fire.
to flambé.
Computer Slang. to insult or criticize angrily in an online post or comment.

Verb Phrases

flame out,
  1. (of a jet engine) to cease to function due to an interruption of the fuel supply or to faulty combustion.
  2. to burst out in or as if in flames.

Origin of flame

1300–50; (noun) Middle English flaume < Anglo-French, variant of flaumbe; Old French flambe, earlier flamble < Latin flammula, diminutive of flamma flame (see -ule); (v.) Middle English flaumen < Anglo-French flaum(b)er; Old French flamber < Latin flammāre, derivative of flamma
Related formsflam·er, nounflame·less, adjectiveflame·like, adjectiveout·flame, verb (used with object), out·flamed, out·flam·ing.pre·flame, adjectiveun·der·flame, noun

Synonyms for flame

1. fire. Flame, blaze, conflagration refer to the light and heat given off by combustion. Flame is the common word, referring to a combustion of any size: the light of a match flame. Blaze usually denotes a quick, hot, bright, and comparatively large flame: The fire burst into a blaze. Conflagration refers to destructive flames which spread over a considerable area: A conflagration destroyed Chicago.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for flaming

Contemporary Examples of flaming

Historical Examples of flaming

  • Her cheeks wore each a little hectic spot; her eyes were flaming.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • He had become yet paler, and his keen intelligent eyes were flaming.

  • With a flaming brand in each hand, he sprang to the edge of the fire.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • They in their day had carried the flaming liquor, but to-day was his!

    Alexander's Bridge and The Barrel Organ

    Willa Cather and Alfred Noyes

  • They were all in a flaming fire, and the heaven also was in a burning flame.


    James Anthony Froude

British Dictionary definitions for flaming



burning with or emitting flames
glowing brightly; brilliant
intense or ardent; vehement; passionatea flaming temper
informal (intensifier)you flaming idiot
an obsolete word for flagrant
Derived Formsflamingly, adverb



a hot usually luminous body of burning gas often containing small incandescent particles, typically emanating in flickering streams from burning material or produced by a jet of ignited gas
(often plural) the state or condition of burning with flamesto burst into flames
a brilliant light; fiery glow
  1. a strong reddish-orange colour
  2. (as adjective)a flame carpet
intense passion or ardour; burning emotion
informal a lover or sweetheart (esp in the phrase an old flame)
informal an abusive message sent by electronic mail, esp to express anger or criticism of an internet user


to burn or cause to burn brightly; give off or cause to give off flame
(intr) to burn or glow as if with fire; become red or fieryhis face flamed with anger
(intr) to show great emotion; become angry or excited
(tr) to apply a flame to (something)
(tr) archaic to set on fire, either physically or with emotion
informal to send an abusive message by electronic mail
See also flameout
Derived Formsflamer, nounflameless, adjectiveflamelet, nounflamelike, adjectiveflamy, adjective

Word Origin for flame

C14: from Anglo-French flaume, from Old French flambe, modification of flamble, from Latin flammula a little flame, from flamma flame
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 flaming

intensifying adjective, late 19c., from present participle of flame (v.). Meaning "glaringly homosexual" is homosexual slang, 1970s (along with flamer (n.) "conspicuously homosexual man"); but flamer "glaringly conspicuous person or thing" (1809) and flaming "glaringly conspicuous" (1781) are much earlier in the general sense, both originally with reference to "wenches."



early 14c., flamen, from Old French flamer, from flamme (see flame (n.)). The sense of "unleash invective on a computer network" is from 1980s. Related: Flamed; flaming.



mid-14c., from Anglo-French flaume, Old French flamme (10c.), from Latin flammula "small flame," diminutive of flamma "flame, blazing fire," from PIE *bhleg- "to shine, flash," from root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn" (see bleach (v.)).

The meaning "a sweetheart" is attested from 1640s; the figurative sense of "burning passion" was in Middle English. Flame-thrower (1917) translates German flammenwerfer (1915).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

flaming in Science



The hot, glowing mixture of burning gases and tiny particles that arises from combustion. Flames get their light either from the fluorescence of molecules or ions that have become excited, or from the incandescence of solid particles involved in the combustion process, such as the carbon particles from a candle.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with flaming


see add fuel to the fire (flames); burst into (flames); fan the flames; go up in flames; shoot down (in flames).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.