brandish

Synonym Chooser

How is the word brandish distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of brandish are flourish, swing, thrash, and wave. While all these words mean "to wield or cause to move to and fro or up and down," brandish implies threatening or menacing motion.

brandishing a knife

When could flourish be used to replace brandish?

The synonyms flourish and brandish are sometimes interchangeable, but flourish suggests vigorous, ostentatious, graceful movement.

flourished the winning lottery ticket

When might swing be a better fit than brandish?

The meanings of swing and brandish largely overlap; however, swing implies regular or uniform movement.

swing the rope back and forth

Where would thrash be a reasonable alternative to brandish?

The words thrash and brandish are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, thrash suggests vigorous, abrupt, violent movement.

an infant thrashing his arms about

When can wave be used instead of brandish?

While in some cases nearly identical to brandish, wave usually implies smooth or continuous motion.

waving the flag

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Cite this Entry

“Brandish.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/brandish. Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

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