1. burning gas or vapor, as from wood or coal, that is undergoing combustion; a portion of ignited gas or vapor.
  2. Often flames. the state or condition of blazing combustion: to burst into flames.
  3. any flamelike condition; glow; inflamed condition.
  4. brilliant light; scintillating luster.
  5. bright coloring; a streak or patch of color.
  6. flame color.
  7. intense ardor, zeal, or passion.
  8. Informal. an object of one’s passionate love; sweetheart: He’s taking out his new flame tonight.
  9. Computer Slang. an angry, critical, or disparaging electronic message, as an online comment.

verb (used without object), flamed, flam·ing.

  1. to burn with a flame or flames; burst into flames; blaze.
  2. to glow like flame; shine brilliantly; flash.
  3. to burn or burst forth with strong emotion; break into open anger, indignation, etc.
  4. Computer Slang. to post an angry, critical, or disparaging electronic message, as an online comment.

verb (used with object), flamed, flam·ing.

  1. to subject to the action of flame or fire.
  2. to flambé.
  3. Computer Slang. to insult or criticize angrily in an online post or comment.

Verb Phrases

  1. flame out,
    1. (of a jet engine) to cease to function due to an interruption of the fuel supply or to faulty combustion.
    2. to burst out in or as if in flames.


  1. a hot usually luminous body of burning gas often containing small incandescent particles, typically emanating in flickering streams from burning material or produced by a jet of ignited gas
  2. (often plural) the state or condition of burning with flamesto burst into flames
  3. a brilliant light; fiery glow
    1. a strong reddish-orange colour
    2. (as adjective)a flame carpet
  4. intense passion or ardour; burning emotion
  5. informal a lover or sweetheart (esp in the phrase an old flame)
  6. informal an abusive message sent by electronic mail, esp to express anger or criticism of an internet user


  1. to burn or cause to burn brightly; give off or cause to give off flame
  2. (intr) to burn or glow as if with fire; become red or fieryhis face flamed with anger
  3. (intr) to show great emotion; become angry or excited
  4. (tr) to apply a flame to (something)
  5. (tr) archaic to set on fire, either physically or with emotion
  6. informal to send an abusive message by electronic mail

agent noun from flame (v.). For homosexual slang sense, see flaming.


early 14c., flamen, from Old French flamer, from flamme (see flame (n.)). The sense of “unleash invective on a computer network” is from 1980s. Related: Flamed; flaming.


mid-14c., from Anglo-French flaume, Old French flamme (10c.), from Latin flammula “small flame,” diminutive of flamma “flame, blazing fire,” from PIE *bhleg- “to shine, flash,” from root *bhel- (1) “to shine, flash, burn” (see bleach (v.)).

The meaning “a sweetheart” is attested from 1640s; the figurative sense of “burning passion” was in Middle English. Flame-thrower (1917) translates German flammenwerfer (1915).

  1. The hot, glowing mixture of burning gases and tiny particles that arises from combustion. Flames get their light either from the fluorescence of molecules or ions that have become excited, or from the incandescence of solid particles involved in the combustion process, such as the carbon particles from a candle.

see add fuel to the fire (flames); burst into (flames); fan the flames; go up in flames; shoot down (in flames).

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