The practice (almost exlusively a male preserve) of exposing intimate parts of your anatomy to unsuspecting passers-by (usually female). I suspect the origin of the term is that the stereotypical flasher would wear a long macintosh overcoat, buttoned-up, to disguise the fact that underneath he'd be wearing his trousers around his thighs, so that he can just "flash" his victim by quickly opening then reclosing the coat.

Once thought of as a fairly minor, if rather unpleasant sex crime, most psychologists and police officers believe that flashing is merely the first step on a road that can often lead to more serious and violent sexual behaviour. Not really a laughing matter.

Flashing, as distinguished from occulting or isophase, is, when applied to a light, the action of being on for a relatively short period, and then off for a relatively long period. It can be pictorially described thus, where + is on and _ is off.

+___+___+___ (repeat)

When casting in a mold, sometimes there will be thin lines*, ridges, or clumps where the parts of the mold did not come together tightly enough to keep the material from seeping out. These are called flashings. They are usually cut off , filed down, and sometimes polished, but their marks may be apparent on the finished product.

* If these lines are small and unobtrusive, they are called mold seams .

Flash"ing, n.

1. Engineering

The creation of an artifical flood by the sudden letting in of a body of water; -- called also flushing.

2. Arch.

Pieces of metal, built into the joints of a wall, so as to lap over the edge of the gutters or to cover the edge of the roofing; also, similar pieces used to cover the valleys of roofs of slate, shingles, or the like. By extension, the metal covering of ridges and hips of roofs; also, in the United States, the protecting of angles and breaks in walls of frame houses with waterproof material, tarred paper, or the like. Cf. Filleting.

3. Glass Making (a)

The reheating of an article at the furnace aperture during manufacture to restore its plastic condition; esp., the reheating of a globe of crown glass to allow it to assume a flat shape as it is rotated.


A mode of covering transparent white glass with a film of colored glass.


Flashing point Chem., that degree of temperature at which a volatile oil gives off vapor in sufficient quantity to burn, or flash, on the approach of a flame, used as a test of the comparative safety of oils, esp. kerosene; a flashing point of 100° F. is regarded as a fairly safe standard. The burning point of the oil is usually from ten to thirty degree above the flashing point of its vapor.


© Webster 1913.

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