1

brandish

play
verb bran·dish \ˈbran-dish\

Definition of brandish

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to shake or wave (as a weapon) menacingly <brandished a knife at them>

  3. 2 :  to exhibit in an ostentatious or aggressive manner <brandishing her intellect>

Examples of brandish in a sentence

  1. She brandished a stick at the dog.

  2. I could see that he was brandishing a knife.

Did You Know?

Most of the time when we encounter the word brandish in print, it is followed by a word for a weapon, such as "knife" or "handgun." That’s appropriate given the word’s etymology: it derives via Middle English braundisshen from brant, braund, the Anglo-French word for "sword." Nowadays you can brandish things other than weapons, however. The figurative usage of brandish rose alongside its earliest literal usage in the 14th century. When you brandish something that isn’t a weapon (such as a sign), you are in effect waving it in someone’s face so that it cannot be overlooked.

Origin and Etymology of brandish

Middle English braundisshen, from Anglo-French brandiss-, stem of brandir, from brant, braund sword, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English brand


First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of brandish

swing, wave, flourish, brandish, thrash mean to wield or cause to move to and fro or up and down. swing implies regular or uniform movement <swing the rope back and forth>. wave usually implies smooth or continuous motion <waving the flag>. flourish suggests vigorous, ostentatious, graceful movement <flourished the winning lottery ticket>. brandish implies threatening or menacing motion <brandishing a knife>. thrash suggests vigorous, abrupt, violent movement <an infant thrashing his arms about>.

2

brandish

noun bran·dish

Definition of brandish

  1. :  an act or instance of waving something menacingly or exhibiting something ostentatiously or aggressively :  an act or instance of brandishing

Origin and Etymology of brandish

see 1brandish


First Known Use: 1601


BRANDISH Defined for English Language Learners

1

brandish

play
verb bran·dish \ˈbran-dish\

Definition of brandish for English Language Learners

  • : to wave or swing (something, such as a weapon) in a threatening or excited manner


BRANDISH Defined for Kids

brandish

play
verb bran·dish \ˈbran-dish\

Definition of brandish for Students

brandished

brandishing

  1. :  to wave or shake in a threatening manner



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up brandish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a principle or belief held by a group

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ