brandish

verb
bran·​dish | \ ˈbran-dish How to pronounce brandish (audio) \
brandished; brandishing; brandishes

Definition of brandish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to shake or wave (something, such as a weapon) menacingly brandished a knife at them
2 : to exhibit in an ostentatious or aggressive manner brandishing her intellect

brandish

noun

Definition of brandish (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Choose the Right Synonym for brandish

Verb

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

Did You Know?

Verb

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.

Examples of brandish in a Sentence

Verb

She brandished a stick at the dog. I could see that he was brandishing a knife.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In that case, Nolan — brandishing a gun on his hip — refused to allow a man leave until the victim admitted to committing a crime that occurred in November, authorities said. David Harris, OrlandoSentinel.com, "'I do not negotiate whatsoever,' armed pub owner said, before being shot by SWAT officer: report," 10 July 2018 With security still a concern, more than half a dozen soldiers brandishing rifles patrolled up and down the Promenade des Anglais to ensure that the message of peace and love was not disrupted. Randy Lewis, latimes.com, "With a little help from his friends, Ringo Starr hosts 10th 'Peace and Love' birthday fest in France," 7 July 2018 Police said Flagstaff residentJohn Hammelton brandished a gun at officers and refused to drop the weapon after receiving several instructions from officers to do so. Chris Mccrory, azcentral, "Flagstaff police officers won't be charged in fatal shooting of 78-year-old," 17 May 2018 His friend, A’Donte Washington, was killed by police on that night, shot four times for allegedly brandishing a gun. Angela Helm, The Root, "Lakeith Smith Got 65 Years For The Death of a 16-Year-Old Killed By Police," 7 Apr. 2018 The officers had responded to a call that a man fitting Sterling’s description had been seen brandishing a gun at the convenience store. Chas Danner, Daily Intelligencer, "Baton Rouge Cop Who Shot Alton Sterling Fired, Body-Cam Footage Finally Released," 31 Mar. 2018 Police were dispatched to the convenience store after someone called 911 complaining about a person fitting Sterling's description brandishing a gun. Laura Mcknight, NOLA.com, "Man arrested in shooting outside French Quarter restaurant: NOPD," 30 Mar. 2018 And against the young Celtics, Cleveland brandished experience like its best asset in the 111-102 win and tied the series at two games apiece. Candace Buckner, chicagotribune.com, "The graybeard Cavaliers have turned experience into their best weapon against the Celtics," 22 May 2018 And she’s met with Mr. McNew, who is brandishing his own weapon. Vinny Vella, Philly.com, "Threats, rage: Court filings reveal lovers' spat leading to Bucks slaying," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brandish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of brandish

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1601, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for brandish

Verb and Noun

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

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Statistics for brandish

Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for brandish

The first known use of brandish was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for brandish

brandish

verb

English Language Learners Definition of brandish

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

brandish

verb
bran·​dish | \ ˈbran-dish How to pronounce brandish (audio) \
brandished; brandishing

Kids Definition of brandish

: to wave or shake in a threatening manner

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More from Merriam-Webster on brandish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brandish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brandish

Spanish Central: Translation of brandish

Nglish: Translation of brandish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of brandish for Arabic Speakers

Comments on brandish

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