1. Also flashing point. Physical Chemistry. the lowest temperature at which a liquid in a specified apparatus will give off sufficient vapor to ignite momentarily on application of a flame.
  2. a critical point or stage at which something or someone suddenly causes or creates some significant action: A 10 percent drop in mortgage rates will produce a flash point in the housing market.
  3. a critical situation or area having the potential of erupting in sudden violence: The Mideast has been the flash point for a series of conflicts.


  1. the lowest temperature at which the vapour above a liquid can be ignited in air
  2. a critical moment beyond which a situation will inevitably erupt into violencethe political mood has reached flash point

also flash point, 1878, from flash (v.) + point (n.). Figurative use by 1955.

  1. The lowest temperature at which the vapor of a flammable liquid will ignite in air. The flash point is generally lower than the temperature needed for the liquid itself to ignite.

For a given flammable substance, the lowest temperature at which vapors passing from the substance into the air will catch fire spontaneously if a small flame is present.

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