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
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

Cabaret fragrance and were ministered to by make-up artists to flourish our costumes. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Hamish Bowles Sambas His Way Through Rio de Janeiro’s Carnaval," 22 Mar. 2019 As with the culprit behind athlete’s foot, this virus tends to flourish in warm, moist areas. Korin Miller, SELF, "Um, Do You Actually Need to Wash Your Feet?," 14 Mar. 2019 This isn’t a great environment for plants to flourish, and my apartment is often so messy that caring for them seems pointless. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "I Can't Stop Buying Plants Even Though They Always Die," 9 Jan. 2019 Its free-to-play nature, combined with developer Epic Games’ breakneck update pace, allowed the game to flourish, constantly changing in ways both obvious and unexpected. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "The year in Fortnite," 18 Dec. 2018 However, the Vikings hope to see some of the younger, home-grown talent to flourish this season. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Vikings training camp questions: Is Kirk Cousins last piece in Super Bowl puzzle?," 2 July 2018 The seeds of prosperity are already there, waiting to flourish. Mark Sappenfield, The Christian Science Monitor, "Finding the good beyond the crisis," 13 May 2018 Mitzi Shore, owner of Los Angeles' legendary venue the Comedy Store, saw the careers of some of comedy's biggest names flourish under her watchful eye. Libby Hill, latimes.com, "Read Pauly Shore's loving tweets about his mother Mitzi's final days," 11 Apr. 2018 Marketplace or one of the city's other great pods to see the city's food carts flourishing. Michael Russell, OregonLive.com, "Portland's best Korean teriyaki is now available in Hillsboro," 27 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

So many people have watched your career flourish on social media. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "Exclusive: Charlotte McKinney's Guess Collection Will Leave You Thirsting For Summer," 4 Feb. 2019 Some of her other decorative flourishes didn’t fare as well: One of the first things Brito e Abreu did was declutter, eliminating Constantina’s velvet curtains, throne-like leather chairs, and some of her larger religious antiquities. Gisela Williams, ELLE Decor, "A Portuguese Family Manor is Transformed Into a Heritage-Rich Island Getaway," 17 Sep. 2018 My favorite flourish, though, may be the pile of bread crumbs made from Minette’s excellent house baguettes that get toasted in duck fat and piled over that confit leg. Craig Laban, Philly.com, "It's cassoulet season at Bistrot La Minette," 16 Jan. 2018 Refined Kitsch Hair Accessories Rule Simone Rocha can always be relied upon for above-the-neck flourishes—and with passion for hair accessories reaching a fever pitch, the Irish designer did not disappoint. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "5 Beauty Trends That Swept the London Runways This Week," 20 Feb. 2019 Bayside Summer Nights: 1812 Tchaikovsky Spectacular The San Diego Symphony’s summer series at Embarcadero Marina Park South concludes its 2018 season with a rousing flourish. Beth Wood, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Summer arts preview: Top 5 classical picks," 13 May 2018 Riding big performances from Cravon Gillespie and Sam Prakel, the Oregon men finished with a flourish Sunday at Stanford's Cobb Track & Angell Field. Ken Goe, OregonLive.com, "Cravon Gillespie, Sam Prakel lead Oregon to a 12th consecutive men's Pac-12 track title," 13 May 2018 Broiled crab cakes measured up solidly — sizable lumps of crabmeat with nary a trace of filling, and a rather subtle, roasted garlic aioli for a finishing flourish. Tim Smith, baltimoresun.com, "Festive drinks, fetching views give food a boost at 16 on the Park," 3 May 2018 Stull returned with a flourish against Loyola, hitting four three-pointers and finishing with 23 points. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "UW-Milwaukee basketball knows Loyola well, having defeated the Ramblers convincingly in December," 28 Mar. 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

30 Mar 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 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.

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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

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having no equal

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