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

But Bargatze is smarter and funnier than his most recent material implies, and his subtle, self-deprecating stage presence flourishes on stage in a way that no TV special could communicate. John Wenzel, The Know, "Larry the Cable Guy, High Plains Festival and more Colorado comedy you need to know in September," 6 Sep. 2019 Reef Bay Trail, U.S. Virgin Islands In what is the U.S. Virgin Islands today, the Taino civilization flourished from 900 to the 1490s. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian, "Eight Spots in the United States Where You Can See Petroglyphs," 18 July 2019 Meanwhile, the Claws star is flourishing in her relationship and looking unbothered with her new man. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Karrueche Tran And Victor Cruz Slayed Milan Men's Fashion Week," 18 June 2019 In the 1980s and 1990s, the city adopted a neoliberal approach to housing and claimed that through deregulation, the market would flourish. Diana Budds, Curbed, "3 ways architects can improve social equity," 8 Nov. 2018 Tomatoes can flourish during summer, producing lots of growth but often few flowers and almost no fruits. Tom Maccubbin, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Summer heat, rain not kind to geraniums," 30 June 2018 Overall, boys and girls lacrosse has flourished, gaining participation annually. Katherine Fominykh, baltimoresun.com, "High school sports participation drops for first time in 30 years, including in Maryland, led by fall in football," 28 Aug. 2019 By 1998, Cleaves' career was flourishing as he was named Big Ten player of the year. John Wisely, Detroit Free Press, "How a Flint court battle became Mateen Cleaves' most divisive victory," 21 Aug. 2019 For example, as in-state enrollment at the University of California campuses decline, the California State University system is flourishing with golden state residents. Teghan Simonton, USA Today, "College recruiters aggressively go after out-of-state kids," 19 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the wake of the Second World War—and the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—there was a flourish of scientific interest in the potential health effects of radiation exposure. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Remembering Liane Russell, the Geneticist Who Studied Radiation’s Harmful Effects on Embryos," 26 Aug. 2019 That said, flower crowns and fascinators (the latter a decidedly British accessory) seem to be an aesthetic flourish on Durran’s part. Sangeeta Singh-kurtz, Quartzy, "The “Little Women” trailer is an ode to amazing headwear," 13 Aug. 2019 Trae Young rebounded from a shaky shooting start to close the season with a flourish, slicing defenses with 23.2 points and 9.2 assists per game in his final 30 contests. Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "Finding the Top Win Total Locks of the 2019-20 Season," 9 Aug. 2019 His work is less a delicate flourish of mixology and more like grinding flour in a mill. Dakota Kim, Sunset, "How to Mix the Bounty of Nature into the Wildest Cocktails Ever," 22 Jan. 2018 Scott hasn’t crafted a production stuffed with conceptual flourishes here. Kerry Reid, chicagotribune.com, "Review: A sharp ‘King Lear’ at Redtwist Theatre raises issues of aging, greed and power," 9 July 2019 Hevelius surrounded one lunar map with baroque flourishes: cherubs brandishing pronouncements, looking through telescopes or studiously drawing. Vicki Goldberg, New York Times, "The Moon Sits for Its Portrait," 3 July 2019 Featuring mysterious singer Nevve, the sweetly uplifting track is outfited with the classic Big Gigantic sax and funk flourishes and is the first new music from the duo in three years. Katie Bain, Billboard, "Big Gigantic Return With 'You're The One,' Their First New Single In Three Years: Interview," 18 June 2019 More than any major candidate in the race, his oratorical style is conversational with few obvious flourishes. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "On the Oratory Trail in Iowa," 11 June 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.

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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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Learn More about flourish

Statistics for flourish

Last Updated

14 Sep 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

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


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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