[ flik-er ]
See synonyms for: flickerflickering on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
  1. to burn unsteadily; shine with a wavering light; blink on and off: The candle flickered in the draft and went out.

  2. to move to and fro; vibrate; quiver: The long grasses flickered in the wind.

  1. to flutter: Her eyelids flickered, the only sign she'd been startled.

  2. to appear or occur briefly: A smile flickered across his face.

verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to flicker: She flickered the lights quickly to attract their attention.

  1. an unsteady flame or light: A dim flicker of lamplight was all that illuminated the room.

  2. a flickering movement: The flicker of the snake's tongue was hypnotizing.

  1. a brief occurrence or appearance: The thought of reinforcements gave them a flicker of hope.

  2. Often flick·ers .Slang. flick2.

  3. Ophthalmology. the visual sensation of flickering that occurs when the interval between intermittent flashes of light is too long to permit fusion.

Origin of flicker

First recorded before 1000; Middle English verb flikeren, flekeren, Old English flicerian, flicorian “to flutter”; cognate with Dutch flikkeren

Other words for flicker

Other words from flicker

  • flick·er·ing·ly, adverb
  • flick·er·y, adjective
  • un·flick·er·ing, adjective
  • un·flick·er·ing·ly, adverb

Words Nearby flicker

Other definitions for flicker (2 of 2)

[ flik-er ]

  1. any of several American woodpeckers of the genus Colaptes, having the underside of the wings and tail brightly marked with yellow or red and noted for taking insects from the ground as well as trees.

Origin of flicker

An Americanism dating back to 1800–10; said to be imitative of the bird's note

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use flicker in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for flicker (1 of 2)


/ (ˈflɪkə) /

  1. (intr) to shine with an unsteady or intermittent light: a candle flickers

  2. (intr) to move quickly to and fro; quiver, flutter, or vibrate

  1. (tr) to cause to flicker

  1. an unsteady or brief light or flame

  2. a swift quivering or fluttering movement

  1. a visual sensation, often seen in a television image, produced by periodic fluctuations in the brightness of light at a frequency below that covered by the persistence of vision

  2. the flicker (plural) a US word for flick 2 (def. 2)

Origin of flicker

Old English flicorian; related to Dutch flikkeren, Old Norse flökra to flutter

Derived forms of flicker

  • flickeringly, adverb
  • flickery, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for flicker (2 of 2)


/ (ˈflɪkə) /

  1. any North American woodpecker of the genus Colaptes, esp C. auratus (yellow-shafted flicker), which has a yellow undersurface to the wings and tail

Origin of flicker

C19: perhaps imitative of the bird's call

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