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4 definitions found

From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 Pan, n.
 1. A shallow, open dish or vessel, usually of metal, employed for many domestic uses, as for setting milk for cream, for frying or baking food, etc.; also employed for various uses in manufacturing. “A bowl or a pan.”
 2. Manuf. A closed vessel for boiling or evaporating. See Vacuum pan, under Vacuum.
 3. The part of a flintlock which holds the priming.
 4. The skull, considered as a vessel containing the brain; the upper part of the head; the brainpan; the cranium.
 5. Carp. A recess, or bed, for the leaf of a hinge.
 6. The hard stratum of earth that lies below the soil. See Hard pan, under Hard.
 7. A natural basin, containing salt or fresh water, or mud.
 Flash in the pan. See under Flash.
 To savor of the pan, to suggest the process of cooking or burning; in a theological sense, to be heretical.

From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 Flash, n.; pl. Flashes
 1. A sudden burst of light; a flood of light instantaneously appearing and disappearing; a momentary blaze; as, a flash of lightning.
 2. A sudden and brilliant burst, as of wit or genius; a momentary brightness or show.
    The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind.   --Shak.
    No striking sentiment, no flash of fancy.   --Wirt.
 3. The time during which a flash is visible; an instant; a very brief period; as, I'll be back in a flash.
    The Persians and Macedonians had it for a flash.   --Bacon.
 4. A preparation of capsicum, burnt sugar, etc., for coloring and giving a fictitious strength to liquors.
 Flash light, or Flashing light, a kind of light shown by lighthouses, produced by the revolution of reflectors, so as to show a flash of light every few seconds, alternating with periods of dimness.  --Knight.
 Flash in the pan, the flashing of the priming in the pan of a flintlock musket without discharging the piece; hence, sudden, spasmodic effort that accomplishes nothing.

From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 Flash v. i. [imp. & p. p. Flashed p. pr. & vb. n. Flashing.]
 1. To burst or break forth with a sudden and transient flood of flame and light; as, the lighting flashes vividly; the powder flashed.
 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.
    Names which have flashed and thundered as the watch words of unnumbered struggles.   --Talfourd.
    The object is made to flash upon the eye of the mind.   --M. Arnold.
    A thought flashed through me, which I clothed in act.   --Tennyson.
 3. To burst forth like a sudden flame; to break out violently; to rush hastily.
 Every hour
 He flashes into one gross crime or other.   --Shak.
 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.
 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.

From: WordNet (r) 2.0

 flash in the pan
      n : someone who enjoys transient success but then fails