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

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Other Words from flourish


flourisher noun

Synonyms for flourish

Synonyms: 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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Studies have shown that by regulating such animals, coyotes help songbirds flourish. Kurtis Alexander, SFChronicle.com, "There’s been a rise in coyote-human encounters. New Bay Area parks program aims to understand why," 31 Dec. 2020 Meat markets both small and large continue to open and flourish throughout the San Antonio area. Chuck Blount, ExpressNews.com, "Chuck’s Food Shack: Your guide to 5 great meat markets in and around San Antonio," 21 Dec. 2020 Coincidentally—or not—we’ve developed an idea of evolution that says mass extinctions are what allow subsequent species to evolve and flourish. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Mass Extinctions Happen Every 27 Million Years," 15 Dec. 2020 At the same time, look for online commerce to continue booming as those who deliver the merchandise flourish alongside them. Mike Masterson, Arkansas Online, "OPINION | MASTERSON ONLINE: Life after covid," 6 Dec. 2020 One of the most remarkable traits of this country is the generosity of spirit that enables our civil society to flourish. Lindsay Craig, National Review, "Join National Review Institute This Giving Tuesday," 1 Dec. 2020 Nelson similarly says that while a strong bond of friendship can elevate a creative project, both friends need to commit to exposure and vulnerability in order to publicly create and flourish together. Flora Tsapovsky, Wired, "From Podcasts to Zoom Workshops, Friendship Is Big Business," 24 Nov. 2020 Complex, abundant life is supported solely by chemical reactions in which bacteria convert hydrogen sulphide to sulphur, releasing energy to the giant tube worms, clams, crustaceans, and other creatures that flourish there. Tim Flannery, The New York Review of Books, "In the Soup," 17 Nov. 2020 In his final game, Liam Clifford had three catches for six yards but kept the Tigers occupied allowing the other Bombers to flourish. Scott Springer, The Enquirer, "St. Xavier rolls to its fourth state football title," 14 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Fernando Romero, whose Twins career began with a flourish in 2018, ended this week with a one-sentence notification on the MLB waiver wire, and a new job in Japan. Phil Miller, Star Tribune, "Twins release Fernando Romero to play in Japan," 18 Dec. 2020 The violin solo is a delicious and unexpected flourish. Jody Rosen, Los Angeles Times, "The 50 best Christmas songs of the last 50 years," 14 Dec. 2020 The prime minister, in a typically Johnsonian flourish, made a nod to the controversy over fishing rights by wearing a tie with little fish on it at the press conference. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Boris Johnson says UK has 'taken back control' after securing post-Brexit trade deal with EU," 25 Dec. 2020 Christian Vital, who was finishing his four-year UConn career with a flourish before the pandemic brought it to an abrupt end, will get a chance to show his skills for an NBA franchise. Dom Amore, courant.com, "UConn’s Christian Vital signs with Grizzlies, likely headed for G League," 16 Dec. 2020 Cindric responded with a short, courteous reply, and over the next two years, the two kept tabs on each other – the team president impressed by the young driver’s flourish. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "How three-time Supercars champ Scott McLaughlin became Team Penske's first rookie since 1999," 23 Oct. 2020 Tourist guides say, with a flourish, that the metal rings were a defense mechanism against tigers who went for the neck. New York Times, "As Refugees, Their Options Were Limited. Others Saw a Profit.," 5 Dec. 2020 At Smitten Ice Cream locations, the ice cream is churned to order and comes together in a magical flourish of liquid nitrogen. Janelle Bitker, SFChronicle.com, "9 great ice cream delivery options in the Bay Area," 29 Oct. 2020 In a final flourish of rebellion, Jind Kaur escaped her captors and trekked across India to Nepal. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, "‘Royals and Rebels’ Review: A Success Story, While It Lasted," 21 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for flourish

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for flourish

Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Flourish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flourish. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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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.

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