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


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Vijay Bhaskar of Mlinda says a big mistake in development has been to assume that, once people are hooked up to electricity, businesses will automatically flourish. The Economist, "Mini-grids could be a boon to poor people in Africa and Asia," 12 July 2018 Alen has great potential, though his career has not yet flourished. SI.com, "New Milan Signing Admits He 'Can't Wait' to Pull on Jersey After Rossoneri Confirm Transfer," 8 July 2018 The likely explanation, the team says, is that without a top predator like the dingo, smaller hunters such as foxes and cats have flourished, decimating prey species like hopping mice and rabbits. Lakshmi Supriya, Science | AAAS, "A fence built to keep out wild dogs out has dramatically altered the Australian landscape," 6 July 2018 While some areas of our state are flourishing post Great Recession, too many of our rural and urban communities are still struggling. charlotteobserver, "Ashley Christensen," 3 July 2018 In the biggest moments, with the lights shining brightest, Toronto crumbled while the Cavaliers flourished. Chris Fedor, cleveland.com, "How Cleveland Cavaliers found their identity once again during grueling seven-game series against Indiana Pacers," 11 May 2018 Such pea shoots and pansies show up as flourishes on many dishes. Kate Washington, sacbee, "If Allora can learn to relax a little, it will be one of the city's best restaurants | The Sacramento Bee," 11 May 2018 Since labor markets are intensely local, there’s also the problem of regional inequality—the abandonment of large swaths of the country, while major cities flourish. David Dayen, The New Republic, "How America Broke Its Economy," 8 May 2018 Control weeds in and near the gardens that flourish with the rains. 28. Tom Maccubbin, OrlandoSentinel.com, "July in the garden," 30 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Street Chorus first appears in a Prefatory Prayers section, singing Latin words to music driven by marching band flourishes. New York Times, "Is ‘Mass’ Leonard Bernstein’s Best Work, or His Worst?," 13 July 2018 Trump, who is known to appreciate military flourish, will be pleased to see the Coldstream Guards, the oldest continuously serving regiment in the British Army. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "What to expect when the Trumps meet Queen Elizabeth II at her favorite castle," 11 July 2018 Return the vegetables and meat to the pot to warm them and serve over the couscous, with the red pepper on top for a visual flourish. Daniel Neman, sacbee, "Artistry, flavor blends are marks of Moroccan," 10 July 2018 The music’s own, natural flourishes start to come through and just tickle (instead of bludgeoning) my pleasure receptors. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Audio-Technica R70x review: the definition of neutral headphones," 6 July 2018 For children, summer brings the delight of endless hours outdoors, enjoying nature in full flourish. Dipesh Navsaria, Houston Chronicle, "What parents should know to prevent — and deal with — bug bites," 6 July 2018 Newgarden may indeed need to finish the season with another flourish. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar: 5 storylines as series heads to Hunter-Reay's home away from home, Iowa Speedway," 5 July 2018 Macron has often toyed with this pairing while abroad, most notably on her trips to India and Washington, D.C. this March and April, which saw her infuse her tailored ensembles with feminine flourish through blush and pink tones. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Brigitte Macron at Couture? The French First Lady Arrives in an Unexpected Look," 2 July 2018 In the metaphor by Niall Ferguson quoted at the start of this report, rather than tear down the data towers, the task at hand is to create a sufficiently vibrant digital town square to make diversity flourish. The Economist, "The art of the possibleThere is no single solution to making the internet more decentralised," 28 June 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

14 Sep 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).


to make amends

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