What does flash in the pan mean?

Definitions for flash in the pan
flash in the pan

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word flash in the pan.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. flash in the pannoun

    someone who enjoys transient success but then fails


  1. flash in the pannoun

    A transient occurrence with no long-term effect.

  2. flash in the pannoun

    A career notable for early success not followed by significant accomplishment.

  3. Etymology: From the days of flintlock firearms, where the main charge was intended to be fired by a small charge of gunpowder in the priming pan. If the resultant fire did not pass through the touch-hole and ignite the main charge, the momentary coruscation produced noise and smoke, but no substantial effect, and was termed a “flash in the pan”. Sometimes called "fluff in the pan", the term refers to any ineffectual, short, spasmodic effort which dies in the attempt, such as an explosion of priming in the lockpan of a gun, while the gun itself does not go off.


  1. flash in the pan

    "Flash in the pan" is an idiom referring to something or someone that briefly shows great promise or success, but then fails to continue to deliver or meet expectations. This could apply to a number of things such as a business, product, actor, athlete, etc. The phrase originates from the old flintlock firearm that had a small pan where the gunpowder would flash, but not ignite the main charge - thus, a bright show, but no lasting effect.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. flash in the pan

    An expressive metaphor, borrowed from the false fire of a musket, meaning to fail of success after presumption.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. flash in the pan

    An explosion of gunpowder without any communication beyond the vent. When a piece is loaded, and, upon the trigger being drawn, nothing but the priming takes fire, that piece is said to flash in the pan.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce flash in the pan?

How to say flash in the pan in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of flash in the pan in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of flash in the pan in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of flash in the pan in a Sentence

  1. Sethu Reddy:

    That makes me more comfortable that this therapeutic area is real, and not a flash in the pan and the mechanism is real.

  2. Nancy Sweetman:

    People our age are tired of all the flash in the pan stuff and we would like to see something get done that we agree with. And in that regard I think Hillary is a much stronger candidate than Bernie.

  3. Glenn McFarlane:

    Just thinking it over, thinking it over, who's going to be the best to be commander-in-chief, who is going to be the best to lead us later on, you know the flash-in-the-pan politicians, we don't need them.

  4. Matt Schlapp:

    Conservatives are really hungry for someone who is outside Washington, somebody who has not been on the treadmill of government, someone who will take on Washington and break up all these old models, i think we should move beyond the idea that Donald Trump is a flash in the pan. He is demonstrating that he is a real candidate who has sustained support.

  5. Tony Nunan:

    The EIA data shows demand is being stimulated by lower oil prices. It could be a flash in the pan. We have passed peak summer demand. It could be temporary.

Translations for flash in the pan

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"flash in the pan." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 28 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/flash+in+the+pan>.

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    interchangeable with `means' in the expression `by means of'
    A ternion
    B crate
    C dint
    D hunch

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