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1 definition found
 for To flash in the pan
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  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.
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              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.
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              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]

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