flour·​ish | \ˈflər-ish, ˈflə-rish\
flourished; flourishing; flourishes

Definition of flourish 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to grow luxuriantly : thrive

2a : to achieve success : prosper a flourishing business

b : to be in a state of activity or production flourished around 1850

c : to reach a height of development or influence The company flourished with record profits under the new owner.

3 : to make bold and sweeping gestures

transitive verb

: to wield with dramatic gestures : brandish Dressed as a pirate, he entered the stage flourishing his sword.



Definition of flourish (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of brandishing or waving

2a : a florid bit of speech or writing rhetorical flourishes

b : an ornamental stroke in writing or printing

c : a decorative or finishing detail a house with clever little flourishes

3 : fanfare

4a : a period of thriving

b : a luxuriant growth or profusion a flourish of white hair a springtime flourish of color

5 : showiness in the doing of something opened the door with a flourish

6 : a sudden burst a flourish of activity

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Other Words from flourish


flourisher noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for flourish

Synonyms: Verb

arrive, prosper, succeed, thrive

Antonyms: Verb


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Choose the Right Synonym for flourish


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

Examples of flourish in a Sentence


plants and animals that flourished here thousands of years ago Regional markets have flourished in recent years. a decorative style that flourished in the 1920s Dressed as a pirate, he entered the stage flourishing his sword.


the floral flourishes in the living room a house with many clever little flourishes Her writing style is simple and clear, without unnecessary flourishes. Dinner was served with a flourish. He waved his sword with a flourish. She opened the door with a flourish. With a flourish of her pen, she signed the bill into law.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Graft flourished under the current president, Enrique Peña Nieto. The Economist, "Will AMLO deliver?," 5 July 2018 After a frustrating five years in Seattle, Beltre flourished into stardom in his 30s. Andy Mccullough, latimes.com, "To Dodgers, Adrian Beltre is the Hall of Famer who got away," 12 June 2018 During the most successful seasons under current Orioles leadership, the team’s 25-man roster flourished because of fluidity. Eduardo A. Encina, baltimoresun.com, "Lack of late-inning options puts Orioles' roster problems into focus," 30 May 2018 Tiny marine creatures flourished thanks to the circulation of nutrient-rich water. Katherine Kornei, Science | AAAS, "Life rebounded just years after the dinosaur-killing asteroid struck," 30 May 2018 An otherworldly cloud flourished from the fizzle, rapidly expanding outward and upward, morphing into different shapes. Washington Post, "AP photographer documents lava meeting sea in sizzling show," 22 May 2018 Jacobs, who played in an FBS-record 59 games at UW, flourished in his final season. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Raiders made cornerback Nick Nelson the first of five Wisconsin players drafted," 28 Apr. 2018 Over the years, the Houston group flourished and become an activist movement for Latino literature and education. Olivia P. Tallet, Houston Chronicle, "Houston celebrates the 20th anniversary of an iconic Latino movement," 25 Apr. 2018 Long under fire for allowing fake accounts to flourish, Twitter is promising a massive purge on Saturday to deal with the problem. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Get ready for the great Twitter deflation.," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One day, at the top of an octave, the mystery trumpeter added an unexpected flourish. Paul Klenk, New York Times, "‘Godfather Waltz’," 2 July 2018 Adding an unexpected flourish to a classic dish without screwing up its essential nature is hard, says Danny Grant, executive chef at Maple & Ash (8 W. Maple St.). Nick Kindelsperger, chicagotribune.com, "Long live the wedge salad, America's silliest salad," 21 June 2018 The track is an edgy yet sultry slow-burn, which features an enticing electric guitar melody, synth flourishes, and a catchy hook. Bryan Kress, Billboard, "Plain White T's Announce New Album 'Parallel Universe,' Debut Video for 'Your Body': Exclusive," 15 June 2018 Reynolds said Jackson added a little flourish after that throw. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "During MLB Draft, Bo Jackson gave Harold Reynolds grief about The Throw from 1989," 5 June 2018 Now, Giuliani added a few flourishes typical of a defense lawyer. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Ham sandwiches, yes; presidents, no," 17 May 2018 This reveler braided hers up into two thicker braids and added some floral flourishes. Rebecca Norris, Allure, "20 Music Festival Hairstyle Ideas to Try This Summer," 20 Apr. 2018 The film primarily focuses on John Glenn's 1962 trip around the globe and does add dramatic flourishes that are, well, Hollywood. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "The True Story of 'Hidden Figures' and the Women Who Crunched the Numbers for NASA," 3 Feb. 2017 The lodging is rustic with comfortable flourishes, like soft duvets and hotel furniture. Brennan Kilbane, Allure, "Losing Clothes, Finding Zen: What It's Like at a Nudist Resort," 19 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flourish.' 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 flourish


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


circa 1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for flourish


Middle English florisshen, from Anglo-French fluriss-, stem of flurir, florir, from Vulgar Latin *florire, alteration of Latin florēre, from flor-, flos flower


see flourish entry 1

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Statistics for flourish

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flourish

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

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More Definitions for flourish



English Language Learners Definition of flourish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to grow well : to be healthy

: to be very successful : to do very well

: to hold up and show (something) in an excited or proud way



English Language Learners Definition of flourish (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is added as a detail or decoration

: a dramatic or fancy way of doing something

: a sudden smooth movement that is likely to be noticed


flour·​ish | \ˈflər-ish \
flourished; flourishing

Kids Definition of flourish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to grow well : thrive Plants flourish in this rich soil.

2 : to do well : enjoy success This style of art flourished in the 1920s.

3 : to make sweeping movements with He flourished a sword.



Kids Definition of flourish (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a fancy bit of decoration added to something He added a flourish to his signature.

2 : a sweeping motion She removed her hat with a flourish.

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Comments on flourish

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


an inexhaustible supply or amount

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