Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To move waveringly; flutter: shadows flickering on the wall.
  • intransitive v. To burn unsteadily or fitfully.
  • transitive v. To cause to move waveringly.
  • n. A brief movement; a tremor.
  • n. An inconstant or wavering light.
  • n. A brief or slight sensation: a flicker of doubt.
  • n. Slang A movie.
  • n. Any of various large North American woodpeckers of the genus Colaptes, especially C. auratus, the common flicker, having a brown back, spotted breast, and white rump.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A certain type of small woodpecker, especially of the genus Colaptes
  • n. An unsteady flash of light.
  • n. A short moment.
  • v. To burn or shine unsteadily. To burn or shine with a wavering light.
  • v. To keep going on and off; to appear and disappear for short moments; to flutter.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To flutter; to flap the wings without flying.
  • intransitive v. To waver unsteadily, like a flame in a current of air, or when about to expire.
  • n. The act of wavering or of fluttering; fluctuation; sudden and brief increase of brightness.
  • n. The golden-winged woodpecker (Colaptes aurutus); -- so called from its spring note. Called also yellow-hammer, high-holder, pigeon woodpecker, and yucca.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To flutter, as a bird; vibrate the wings rapidly.
  • To fluctuate or waver, as the light of a torch in the wind; undergo rapid and irregular changes.
  • To scintillate; sparkle.
  • To act lovingly; bestow caresses.
  • Synonyms Glimmer, Gleam, etc. See glare, intransitive verb
  • Wavering; unsteady.
  • n. The act of flickering or fluttering; a wavering or fluctuating gleam, as of a candle; a flutter.
  • n. The popular name of the golden-winged woodpecker, Colaptes auratus, a very common and handsome woodpecker of the United States, and of other species of the same genus, as the Mexican or red-shafted flicker, C. mexicanus, or the gilded flicker, C. chrysoides.
  • n. Specifically, in psychology, an unstable visual perception, occasioned by the intermittence or intensive fluctuation of stimuli.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. North American woodpecker
  • v. flash intermittently
  • v. move back and forth very rapidly
  • n. the act of moving back and forth
  • n. a momentary flash of light
  • v. shine unsteadily

Etymologies

Middle English flikeren, to flutter, from Old English flicerian.
Perhaps from flick1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
1808, American English, probably echoic of the bird's call, or from the white spotted plumage which appears to flicker. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English flikeren ("to flutter"), from Old English flicerian, flicorian ("to flutter"). Akin to Dutch flikkeren ("to flutter"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • As the sun set that evening, I sat back into the arms of the substantial, saturated air, and watched the fireflies flicker from the comforts of a lawn chair.

    Archive 2008-07-01

  • That 60hz flicker is killer on my parafoveal vision.

    WALMART GOES FLUORESCENT | Inhabitat

  • Albiet, I have seen flicker from the early stages and at one time it was a darling .. but not any more.

    Reminiscing about Nintendo and Sega | FactoryCity

  • She could feel his eyes stroking over her, and when she caught a glimpse of them, it was to see his expression flicker with a subtle sensuality.

    Wicked Pleasures

  • The concern here is specifically something known as flicker rate.

    CNN Transcript Jan 4, 2008

  • Again, no scientific evidence to suggest that for sure but the specific concern is what is known as a flicker rate.

    CNN Transcript Jan 4, 2008

  • The flicker was the first sign of a change or disturbance in the Spin membrane — first, that is, unless you count the event that followed the Chinese missile attack on the polar artifacts, back in the earliest years of the Spin.

    Spin

  • Something called the flicker phenomena where sunlight flashing very brilliantly on water or on leaves or grass or glass all of which is our back yard can cause an electrical discharge in the brain which can be sufficient to trigger a seizure.

    Judgement Day: My Years with Ayn Rand

  • Cochrane saw Jones 'expression flicker sarcastically just once during

    Operation: Outer Space

  • The little black-and-white downy and the flicker are the two woodpeckers which make the Park their home.

    The Log of the Sun A Chronicle of Nature's Year

Comments

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  • The key to victory on the internet battleground will be vowels. Web 2.0 is pretty to look at but needs to beef up its armament. Nobody ever won a war with consonants.

    May 7, 2007

  • Or, even better, flickr.

    May 7, 2007