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Writing Tips has been archived and won’t be updated before it is permanently deleted.

For the most up-to-date content, please consult Writing Tips Plus, which combines content from Writing Tips and The Canadian Style. And don’t forget to update your bookmarks!

To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

flair, flare, flare out, flare up, flare-up

A flair is an instinct, knack or talent.

  • Matthew’s garden is beautiful; he has a real flair for landscape design.

A flare is a flame or a gradual widening.

  • If your car breaks down on the highway, you should set out flares to warn other motorists.
  • Dad hadn’t seen trousers with such a wide flare since Woodstock.

The noun flare-up is an outburst or recurrence of trouble or infection. Note that it is spelled with a hyphen (although the phrasal verb flare up is not).

  • Acne sufferers often experience flare-ups in times of stress.

The verb flare means to increase in brightness or revive (often used with up), or to widen (used with out).

  • When the pine boughs were added, the campfire flared (up) brightly.
  • The chihuahua’s nostrils flared (out) as the letter carrier approached.
  • Below the knees, the skirt flares out, creating a traditional tulip shape.