flourish

1 of 2

verb

flour·​ish ˈflər-ish How to pronounce flourish (audio)
ˈflə-rish
flourished; flourishing; flourishes

intransitive verb

1
: to grow luxuriantly : thrive
2
a
: 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.
flourisher noun

flourish

2 of 2

noun

1
: an act or instance of brandishing or waving
2
a
: 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
4
a
: 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
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
While the two worked through the intimacy struggle, their relationship seemed to flourish in other areas, including Amy meeting Johnny's family and hitting it off with his sisters. Joelle Goldstein, Peoplemag, 21 Feb. 2024 That created a business opportunity for accommodating doctors whose specialized clinics flourished as people flocked in to get recommendations for conditions severe to benign. Peter Hecht, Sacramento Bee, 21 Feb. 2024 More broadly, liberalism is most likely to flourish in a system led by a democracy. Hal Brands, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 This not only keeps everyone informed but also creates a space for innovative thinking to flourish. Kate Vitasek, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 If the measure of success is survival, even the fittest members of a flourishing species are losers in the long run. Robert Pogue Harrison, The New York Review of Books, 15 Feb. 2024 Katherine’s attackers showed up at her funeral to express their condolences, says her father, highlighting the impunity and cynicism that flourished under gang control. Whitney Eulich, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 Feb. 2024 The Crown, Stranger Things, The Mandalorian, and especially Game of Thrones flourished for a while, then fizzled or flamed out. TIME, 7 Feb. 2024 Throughout the week my scalp felt comfortable, and the wash-and-go style only flourished. Essence, 5 Feb. 2024
Noun
Nothing says spring has sprung in Texas with a prettier flourish than fields full of bluebonnet blooms, and according to experts at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, this season will not disappoint. David Montesino, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 23 Feb. 2024 Five players were tied at 14 under with seven holes to play, but Matsuyama finished with a flourish, carding three birdies on his last four holes to get to 9 under on the day and -17 for the week. Steve Galluzzo, Los Angeles Times, 18 Feb. 2024 The bill's passage through the Senate with a flourish of GOP support was a welcome sign for Ukraine amid critical shortages on the battlefield. Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports, arkansasonline.com, 14 Feb. 2024 The Super Bowl was a bit of a microcosm of the Chiefs' season, the team starting slow before finishing with a flourish – Mahomes throwing the game-winning touchdown to Mecole Hardman with 3 seconds on the clock to cap a 22-point barrage after halftime. USA TODAY, 12 Feb. 2024 Next up: at UCLA (Thursday) Comment: The Buffaloes could very well finish with a flourish and win the Pac-12 tournament. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, 12 Feb. 2024 One sous chef spent three years in Peru and another hails from Mexico, backgrounds that also explain the menu’s international flourishes. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, 2 Feb. 2024 Pruning Remove faded or dying flowers, usually around two-thirds from their initial flourish, to continue seeing blooms. Steve Bender, Southern Living, 25 Jan. 2024 The upholstery and waitstaff may have been updated, but the café still retains many of its classical flourishes—including those unpolished brass fixtures. Keaton Bell, Vogue, 10 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'flourish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English florisshen "to put forth flowers, bloom, grow luxuriantly, prosper, brandish (a weapon)," borrowed from Anglo-French floriss-, stem of florir, flurir "to bloom, grow abundantly, thrive," going back to Vulgar Latin *flōrīre, restructuring of Latin flōrēscere "to begin to flower, increase in vigor," inchoative derivative of flōrēre "to bloom, prosper, be at the peak of one's powers," stative verbal derivative of flōr-, flōs flower entry 1

Noun

derivative of flourish entry 1

First Known Use

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

circa 1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near flourish

Cite this Entry

“Flourish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flourish. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

flourish

1 of 2 verb
flour·​ish ˈflər-ish How to pronounce flourish (audio)
ˈflə-rish
1
: to grow well : thrive
2
b
: to be active
flourished around 1850
3
: to make bold sweeping gestures
4
: to shake or wave around
flourish a sword

flourish

2 of 2 noun
1
: a fancy bit of decoration added to something (as handwriting)
2
: a sweeping motion
3
4
: a period of thriving
5
: a sudden burst
a flourish of activity
Etymology

Verb

Middle English florisshen "to flourish, thrive," from early French floriss-, florir (same meaning), derived from Latin florēre "to blossom, flourish," from flor-, flos "a flower, blossom" — related to florid, flour, flower

More from Merriam-Webster on flourish

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