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 for flourish

Synonyms: Verb

burgeon (also bourgeon), prosper, thrive

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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

As the black market for dollars has flourished, Iranian authorities also have arrested hundreds of currency dealers. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "As Economy Withers, Iran Imposes Harsh Crackdown on Fraud," 26 Dec. 2018 But the idea of neutrality — not just competition or relevant results — has flourished in the conservative backlash against Silicon Valley. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "The long, tortured quest to make Google unbiased," 6 Dec. 2018 In the decades since Langmuir coined the term, the stuff has flourished in TVs, neon signs, fluorescent light, watches and yes, rockets. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Plasma Thrusters Are About To Have Their Moment," 30 Aug. 2018 Conley, 28, has flourished since becoming a setup reliever this season. Andre C. Fernandez, miamiherald, "As trade rumors swirl, Marlins closer Kyle Barraclough named NL’s top reliever in June," 2 July 2018 The market for using technology to connect singletons the world over has flourished in recent years, but its real potential has yet to be unlocked. Leigh Gallagher, Fortune, "Match Is the Sweetheart of Online Dating—But Can It Fend Off Facebook and Bumble?," 27 June 2018 His image has flourished as that of the strong, silent type, not given to the rise and fall of emotion, immune to pressure or expectation. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Amid Argentina’s Drama, Lionel Messi’s Brilliance Emerges," 26 June 2018 Both players have flourished and have been part of Toronto's recent run of success. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The NBA draft has been a mixed bag for the Bucks. They need to pull out a winner Thursday.," 20 June 2018 Entrepreneurs have flourished over the past decade, thanks in part to easier access to credit. The Economist, "China has made progress in tackling financial risks," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The engine note flourishes and expands into a moment of aural passion. Dan Neil, WSJ, "Genesis G70: A Hyundai Spinoff You Can Proudly Drive," 12 Dec. 2018 Topped with a Palladian window, the 91-unit brick structure incorporated humble, everyday elements and flourishes, such as brick walls and a block-letter sign. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Masterpieces of Robert Venturi, a postmodern architecture icon," 20 Sep. 2018 The visuals feature fantastic beasts and animals as well as more abstract calligraphic flourishes, with a scene of Moses addressing the Israelites added later by the 15th-century scribe-artist Joel ben Simeon. New York Times, "Getty Museum Acquires a Rare, 700-Year-Old Torah," 11 July 2018 Malik tried his hand at the tune, giving it an R&B update for 2018 by working in some digital flourishes, echoing guitars and haunting piano chords. Hilary Hughes, Billboard, "Zayn Malik Covers Elvis Presley's 'Can't Help Falling in Love': Listen," 8 July 2018 And just like the first Life Is Strange, there are small flourishes in presentation and production that have a huge effect. Julie Muncy, Ars Technica, "Life Is Strange 2, episode 1 review: New setting, same heart," 28 Sep. 2018 Rules put in place last year established bitcoin as a legitimate payment method in Japan, helping the digital currency flourish in the country. Steven Russolillo, WSJ, "Japan’s Biggest Bitcoin Exchange Suspends New Business," 22 June 2018 Bee has been strongarmed into apologizing for a rhetorical flourish of which Chaucer would have been proud. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "What’s So Bad About the C-Word?," 5 June 2018 Travis struck first with a flourish in game three, as Noemi Cortez homered in her second consecutive at-bat with a three-run drive to left field. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire wins three-game thriller against Travis," 11 May 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

Verb and Noun

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

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Statistics for flourish

Last Updated

5 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on flourish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flourish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flourish

Spanish Central: Translation of flourish

Nglish: Translation of flourish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flourish for Arabic Speakers

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).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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