What does the idiom "in a flash" mean?

Idioms are generally defined as groups of words that form a meaningful whole when they come together, even though the words in them do not make sense on their own. They have produced many idioms according to their own cultural characteristics in communities using the English language. What does in a flash mean? In what situations is in a flash used?

Meaning of "in a flash"


The phrase 'in a flash' is an idiom used to describe something that happens very quickly. This phrase emphasizes the speed in which something is done, often implying a single moment or instance of time. It is used to convey a sense of urgency, while still being short and easy to say.


The phrase 'in a flash' is a relatively modern idiom that is thought to have originated in the late 1800s. It is believed to have been inspired by the idiom 'in a trice', which was in use as early as the mid-1700s. 'In a trice' means 'in a single moment', or 'in the blink of an eye', and likely evolved into 'in a flash' over time.


This phrase is most commonly used in informal conversation, and is often used in situations where speed is crucial. It can be used to describe a variety of situations, from completing a task quickly, to making a decision in an instant. It can also be used jokingly to describe something that happened very unexpectedly or quickly. Additionally, it can be used to express surprise or excitement in response to something that happened quickly.

Example Sentences

  • I finished the project in a flash!
  • Just like that, he made his decision in a flash.
  • I was running late, but managed to get ready in a flash.
  • He ate the whole pizza in a flash - it was gone in seconds!

The meanings of the words in the "in a flash" idiom

The Global Spread of English Idioms

As English has become a global language, its idioms have spread far beyond the borders of the UK and USA. For instance, the idiom "beat around the bush" has equivalents in many other languages, such as "tourner autour du pot" in French and "dar vueltas al asunto" in Spanish. Meanwhile, other idioms have been adapted for local contexts, such as the Russian idiom "?? ???? ???????" (ne svoya rubashka), which translates to "not one's own shirt," meaning to be in an uncomfortable or unfamiliar situation.


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