Flair or Flare?

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
What is the difference between flair and flare?

Flair means natural ability.
  • He has a natural flair for languages.
Flare means a brief burst of light or a gradual widening at one end.
  • The flare ruined my night vision.
  • His trousers have a remarkable flare.


The abstract noun flair means to have a natural talent or a knack for something. It also means to do something with a distinct elegance.

  • Their ideas might now need some of your creative flair.
  • Starting out to make money is the greatest mistake in life. Do what you feel you have a flair for doing, and if you are good enough at it, the money will come. (Greer Garson)


The noun flare denotes a brief burst of bright flame or light. It is also the name for a firework-style rocket used for illumination. Flare can also mean a gradual expanding in shape.

  • Flares are used for signalling, illumination, or defensive countermeasures in civilian and military applications.
  • People wearing flared jeans today want to style these 1970s inspired jeans in ways that are definitely 21st century.
Flare can also be used as a verb meaning to burst into flame or to gradually become wider at one end.

  • His last match flared lighting our faces.
  • Her dress does not flare at the bottom.
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? Ms., Miss, or Mrs? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What are nouns? List of easily confused words