'Flair' vs. 'Flare': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on July 30, 2023

Are you wondering the difference between 'flare' vs. 'flair?'

Here is the short answer: 

  • 'Flair' is a noun defined as an attractive style or talent. 
  • 'Flare' is a noun and a verb that means an unsteady fire or flame used to notify or signal people. 

There is a lot more to learn, though. So, keep reading this post to learn the pronunciations, synonyms, definitions, and how to use these two terms.

The Difference: 'Flair' vs. 'Flare'

'Flair' and 'flare' are homonyms, so they sound the same but have different spellings and meanings.

  • The former is a 'noun' for a sense or talent for fashion.
  • The latter is a noun or verb for an unsteady flame or a flammable signal to notify people of your location.

As you can see, pronunciation is one of the only things these two have in common.

Definition of 'Flair': What Does 'Flair' Mean?

To further prove my point, let's look at the definitions of these words. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'flair' means:

  • The skill of being able to use something well

It can also mean:

  • Talented
  • Tendency or inclination
  • A rare and uniquely attractive trait or quality
  • Style

Synonyms of 'Flair'

  • Talent
  • Gift
  • Knack
  • Affinity
  • Skill
  • Aptitude
  • Expertise
  • Eye
  • Endowment
  • Pension
  • Instinct
  • Way
  • Specialty
  • Disposition
  • Propensity
  • Genius

'Flair' Sayings and Terms

  • Flair for the dramatic
  • Flair for fashion
  • Artistic flair
  • Unique flair
  • Ric Flair (wrestler)
  • Ric Flair Drip
  • Fantastic flair
  • Dramatic flair

Definition of 'Flare': What Does 'Flare' Mean?

The same resource defines 'flare' as a noun that means:

  • A fire or light used to attract the attention of people, especially in an emergency

It can also mean:

  • An unsteady bright light
  • An unexpected outburst
  • A decrease or increase in a star's brightness
  • Spreading outward
  • An area of red or flush skin
  • A short pass made in football to a running back that is running toward the sideline

It can also be a verb meaning:

  • Burn with an unsteady flame
  • Streaming in the wind
  • A sudden light shining
  • Become suddenly upset or angry, as in when tempers flare
  • Open or spread
  • Display in a conspicuous manner
  • Signal with a flare
  • Burn in an open space
  • Burn off natural gas or oil from a well

Synonyms of 'Flare'

  • Flurry
  • Burst
  • Interruption
  • Eruption
  • Explosion
  • Flash
  • Flicker
  • Spurt

'Flare' Sayings and Terms

  • Rescue flare
  • Roadside flare
  • Flare gun
  • Flared up
  • Shoot a flare
  • Emergency flare
  • Safety flare

How to Use 'Flair' vs. 'Flare'

You know these words have different meanings. So, you use them in different ways. Let's take a closer look at when and how to use them grammatically.

  • 'Flair' is a noun term for talent or skill that comes naturally.

So, you can use it like this:

His artistic flair is incredible, especially for someone his age who lacks formal instruction or training. 

  • Use 'flair' to describe something unique.

As an example, I might say:

She used parts of her mother's wedding dress, originally her grandmother's, and updated it with a more fashionable neckline and sleeves to create a flair all her own. 

  • You can also use 'flair' to describe someone who wears fashionable clothes well.

For example, you could say:

Her flair for fashion was incredible. Every garment she created was stunning on and off the runway. 

  • Use 'flare' to refer to something that attracts attention, specifically from rescuers.

As an example, you might hear someone say:

I hear a helicopter. When they get closer, use the flare gun to signal them.

  • 'Flare' can be a flaming candle you use to warn drivers you are pulled over on the side of the road.

For example, I might say:

Stopping on this curve is particularly dangerous, but we have no choice. I will get the flares out of my trunk and light them further up the road to warn drivers. 

  • Use 'flare' to indicate that the level of something, specifically negative feelings like anger, increased significantly.

An example is when someone says:

I do not want to be in the middle when tempers flare. 

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Flair' vs. 'Flare'

Let's look at the pronunciations of 'flair' vs. 'flare.' They are homonyms, and they have the same pronunciation.

Here is a pronunciation guide for reference.

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'flair':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'flare':


Sample Sentences Using 'Flair' vs. 'Flare'

Now that you know how to use, spell, and pronounce these words, read these sample sentences to help cement what you've learned into your memory.


  • She had an undeniable flair for fashion. It was apparent the moment she walked in the door.
  • After being exposed to their flair for the dramatic, she did not believe her sisters when they told her they needed her help with an emergency.
  • I must check it out because any place with that much flair must be fun.
  • His artistic flair was not apparent until later in life.


  • Thank God we had that flare gun when our plane went down.
  • Without the flare, I doubt they would have ever found us in the thick jungle vegetation.
  • After he accidental;y shot our only flare, we were convinced they would never rescue us.
  • Please light those flares and set them back about 30 to 50 feet away from your vehicle.

Recap: 'Flair' vs. 'Flare'

Finally, let's recap what you learned about 'flair' vs. 'flare':

  • 'Flair' is a noun for the ability or natural talent to put something to good use or a knack for doing something well.
  • 'Flare' is a noun for a flammable candle that burns brightly to signal to other people that danger or a hazard is ahead.
  • 'Flare' is also a verb that means to burn freely, unevenly, and with inconsistent bursts.

These terms are homonyms, so they sound the same. It is common even for advanced writers and native English speakers to question which version they should use. So, if you find yourself in that situation again, you can always return to this lesson for a quick review.

You can also find guides on hundreds of other commonly misused terms and phrases in the confusing words section. So, anytime you are unsure what word or spelling to use, you can use our guides to verify the correct word.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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