flour·​ish | \ ˈflər-ish How to pronounce flourish (audio) , 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
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from flourish


flourisher noun

Synonyms for flourish

Synonyms: 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

Verb 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. Noun 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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Precision medicine, the concept of giving the right treatment to the right patient at the right time, is flourishing in cancer treatment. Gwen Nichols, STAT, "Precision medicine has a blind spot: children with cancer," 30 Dec. 2019 Cairo's art scene is flourishing, and galleries worth seeking out include Misr, in the Zamalek district; Mashrabia, downtown, near the Egyptian Museum; and the new Tahrir Cultural Center, a few blocks away. Anthony Sattin, Condé Nast Traveler, "As Travelers Return to Egypt, Look Past Cairo," 24 Dec. 2019 Their project has flourished far beyond what any of them could have imagined. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "The Tao of impeachment: The process is the point," 19 Dec. 2019 The second-home market is flourishing and has been gaining strength for several years. Steve Blank, The Denver Post, "Cocktail chattables: Home buyers and sellers are moving in different directions as needs and desires are re-evaluated," 19 Dec. 2019 Tulsa, 1921 The Greenwood District of Tulsa was flourishing in 1921. Jasmine Aguilera, Time, "Archeologists Have Located a Possible Mass Grave Associated With The 1921 Tulsa Race Riots. Here's What To Know," 17 Dec. 2019 But there is only one nation where Brexit and Johnson’s populism have truly flourished, and that is England. By Sam Knight, The New Yorker, "Boris Johnson Wins, and Britain Chooses the Devil It Knows," 13 Dec. 2019 Gasolina has now flourished into one of the largest Reggaeton parties in the country, with future stops in San Diego, Atlanta and Denver. Alison Medley, Houston Chronicle, "Gasolina tour fuels 'explosive' Reggaeton party at Houston’s House of Blues," 8 Dec. 2019 Herbs flourish in window casings lit up like a clandestine weed stash under grow lights. Mike Sutter, ExpressNews.com, "Review: 188 South gives New Braunfels restaurant fans a strong place for pizza, cocktails and small plates," 28 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Established stars, with Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, helped the game flourish. Steve Dimeglio, USA TODAY, "Tiger Woods made a late splash, but Rory McIlroy leads our Top 10 PGA Tour players of the decade," 17 Dec. 2019 While rich dark mahogany appealed to men dining in the café, the floral architectural flourishes and white linen table cloths added an air of femininity for the ladies who lunched there. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "The English Hotel and Opera House was the grand lady of Monument Circle," 14 Aug. 2019 Lombardy was to be his new home, the San Siro his canvas and Catenaccio the paint, with Cesare Maldini (a native of Trieste) providing the broad-strokes and young playmaker Gianni Rivera the artistic flourishes. SI.com, "Nereo Rocco: 'El Paron', the Pioneer of Catenaccio & Forgotten Great of Italian Football," 30 July 2019 Set on the sands of La Costa Beach, the home’s European flourishes set it apart from neighboring coastal properties. Los Angeles Times, "Hot Property: Sugar Ray Leonard eyes a $52-million prize in Pacific Palisades," 27 July 2019 The greatest flourish is that Snapchat filter mask that is worn in the first episode. Liz Shannon Miller, The Verge, "How Years and Years creator Russell T. Davies sees the future unfolding," 2 July 2019 Uni and caviar are sometimes garnished with gold, the only overtly extravagant flourish on a menu that otherwise shines on technique and sourcing. Krista Simmons, Condé Nast Traveler, "15 Best Sushi Restaurants in Los Angeles," 27 Feb. 2018 Still timely and smart, the HBO comedy that took satirical aim at the high tech world finished its sixth and final season with a flourish, and felt more relevant than ever. oregonlive, "2019 TV cancellations: Shows we won’t miss, and others we hate to see go," 19 Dec. 2019 To judge from opinion polls, this effort is succeeding, even if some of the metaphorical flourishes are in poor taste. The Economist, "Johnson The different languages of impeachment," 12 Dec. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about flourish

Time Traveler for flourish

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for flourish

Last Updated

5 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flourish.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flourish. Accessed 19 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for flourish


How to pronounce flourish (audio)

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 How to pronounce flourish (audio) \
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.

Keep scrolling for more

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 insert between existing elements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!