/flair/, v., flared, flaring, n.
1. to burn with an unsteady, swaying flame, as a torch or candle in the wind.
2. to blaze with a sudden burst of flame (often fol. by up): The fire flared up as the paper caught.
3. to start up or burst out in sudden, fierce activity, passion, etc. (often fol. by up or out): Tempers flared at the meeting. Violence flared up in a new section of the city.
4. to shine or glow.
5. to spread gradually outward, as the end of a trumpet, the bottom of a wide skirt, or the sides of a ship.
6. to cause (a candle, torch, etc.) to burn with a swaying flame.
7. to display conspicuously or ostentatiously.
8. to signal by flares of fire or light.
9. to cause (something) to spread gradually outward in form.
10. Metall. to heat (a high-zinc brass) to such a high temperature that the zinc vapors begin to burn.
11. to discharge and burn (excess gas) at a well or refinery.
12. flare out or up, to become suddenly enraged: She flares up easily.
13. a flaring or swaying flame or light, as of torches in the wind.
14. a sudden blaze or burst of flame.
15. a bright blaze of fire or light used as a signal, a means of illumination or guidance, etc.
16. a device or substance used to produce such a blaze of fire or light.
17. a sudden burst, as of zeal or of anger.
18. a gradual spread outward in form; outward curvature: the flare of a skirt.
19. something that spreads out.
20. Optics. unwanted light reaching the image plane of an optical instrument, resulting from extraneous reflections, scattering by lenses, and the like.
21. Photog. a fogged appearance given to an image by reflection within a camera lens or within the camera itself.
22. Also called solar flare. Astron. a sudden and brief brightening of the solar atmosphere in the vicinity of a sunspot that results from an explosive release of particles and radiation.
23. Football. a short pass thrown to a back who is running toward a sideline and is not beyond the line of scrimmage.
24. Television. a dark area on a picture tube caused by variations in light intensity.
[1540-50; orig. meaning: spread out, said of hair, a ship's sides, etc.; cf. OE flaere either of the spreading sides at the end of the nose]
Syn. 1. flame. 3. erupt, explode, flash, blaze, flame. 14. flash.

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      combustible device used to emit a dazzlingly bright light for signaling or illumination on railroads and highways and in military operations. In pyrotechnics the term is applied either to a coloured-fire composition burned in a loose heap or to a similar composition rolled into a paper case to ensure longer and more regular burning.

      The flare in its present form dates from the early part of the 19th century, when the introduction of potassium chlorate permitted the development of chemical mixtures to produce coloured light. Previous to this the only colour had been the bluish white light produced by a mixture of sulfur, saltpetre, and orpiment. These blue lights, as they were called, were and still are often used at sea for signaling and illumination. They were also known as Bengal lights, probably because Bengal was the chief source of saltpetre.

      The introduction of colours that could readily be recognized at a considerable distance opened up a much wider field for the use of flares at sea. From the middle of the 19th century, many patents were granted, most of them for a means of self-ignition. Subsequent inventions provided for ignition on the same principle as the modern safety match and for the waterproofing of the surface. Lights of this kind are usually fitted with a wooden handle.

      Coloured flares of high light intensity are carried as standard equipment in ships' lifeboats; the high intensity is obtained by the incorporation of magnesium, or magnesium alloy, in the composition. Flares are also used to warn motorists of highway obstructions. Commercial highway vehicles carry flares to be used in the event of distress or breakdown.

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Universalium. 2010.

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