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 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

Ah, young love: For these flourishing couples, the fashion memo for 2018 was more cutting-edge streetwear and designer labels. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "The Fashion-Forward Couples Who Dominated 2018," 29 Nov. 2018 In recent years, Mars has looked more and more like a place where past life might have flourished. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Mars May Have Enough Oxygen to Sustain Subsurface Life," 22 Oct. 2018 This under-construction development Balaji is selling promises high-end living in Kensington, one of a cluster of flourishing, formerly industrial districts that have repackaged their gritty pasts for a new generation of buyers. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Booming postindustrial neighborhoods often overlook polluted past," 9 Oct. 2018 In 1970, before entering Harvard, Jamie Bernstein spent the summer at the Tanglewood Music Festival, where her father had flourished as a young man. David Denby, The New Yorker, "Leonard Bernstein Through His Daughter’s Eyes," 16 June 2018 In any case, Webster said the methane apparently works its way into the atmosphere from sub-surface reservoirs of some sort, places where non-biological geochemistry is going on or where microbial life might somehow flourish. William Harwood, CBS News, "NASA's Curiosity rover finds potential building blocks of life on Mars," 8 June 2018 But the higher cost of the new readers and complexity of switching over to a new technology has been an obstacle for small retail businesses and gas stations where criminals have flourished. Jason Dearen And Josh Replogle, OrlandoSentinel.com, "UF-designed 'Skim Reaper' fights ATM, gas pump thefts," 11 May 2018 While abuse can happen in any environment, the intense training and traveling in professional sports create a sense of intimacy and privacy where abuse can flourish, said Cristiano Barreira, president of the Brazilian Sports Psychology Association. Marina Lopes, chicagotribune.com, "Echoing Team USA, Brazilian gymnasts speak out about abuse," 5 May 2018 And the company has taken various steps to soften its corporate image after a 2015 New York Times report described a cutthroat atmosphere where backstabbing flourished. Bloomberg.com, "Amazon’s Other Jeff Steps Into the Spotlight," 21 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The bride, who wore a stunning diamond necklace by Sabyasachi Jewelry, then further played up the dazzle factor by entwining a delicate white floral sprig of baby’s breath around the back that lent an unexpected and feminine flourish. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Priyanka Chopra’s Third Wedding Reception Reveals Her Most Striking Bridal Hair Yet," 20 Dec. 2018 Firstly, those exterior flourishes aren’t just for show. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Volvo’s 360c concept has softened my cynicism about autonomous cars," 6 Sep. 2018 Expert braider Suvi Huttunen from Jyväskylä, Finland, created her DNA braid in a high ponytail along with two Dutch braids topped with a sweet floral flourish. Wendy Sy, Allure, "These Viral "DNA Braids" Are Perfect for Science-Obsessed Beauty Lovers," 24 July 2018 This design flourish was no coincidence; the restaurant, until around 2014, was a combination KFC-Taco Bell. Nate Berg, Curbed, "McDonald’s 2.0," 11 Apr. 2018 Walking in doesn’t feel like entering a serious, stately institution; the silver and cream palate and the Art Deco flourishes are light and bright and a little bit whimsical. Laura Goulden, Condé Nast Traveler, "34 Best Hotels in London," 26 Feb. 2018 Here is a tidal pool, with limpets resembling cocktail umbrellas, beds of blue-shelled mussels and feathery shrimp that seem to gallop through the brine; elsewhere, the splendid flourish of the dreaded giant squid. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "What to Give: Children’s Books," 15 Nov. 2018 These sentences aren’t flourishes of showoff; nothing unoriginal slips by in this flawless novel. Randy Rosenthal, The Seattle Times, "A grieving widow stalks her dead husband through the streets of Havana," 2 Aug. 2018 In the case of Baylson’s ruling, though, literary samplings aren’t just rhetorical flourishes. Walt Hunter, The Atlantic, "When Hamlet Starts Showing Up in Federal Court," 13 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

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

2 Feb 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 \
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

What made you want to look up flourish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


excited commotion or publicity

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