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[flou-er] /ˈflaʊ ər/
the blossom of a plant.
  1. the part of a seed plant comprising the reproductive organs and their envelopes if any, especially when such envelopes are more or less conspicuous in form and color.
  2. an analogous reproductive structure in other plants, as the mosses.
a plant, considered with reference to its blossom or cultivated for its floral beauty.
state of efflorescence or bloom:
Peonies were in flower.
an ornament representing a flower.
Also called fleuron, floret. Printing. an ornamental piece of type, especially a stylized floral design, often used in a line to decorate chapter headings, page borders, or bindings.
an ornament or adornment.
the finest or most flourishing period:
Poetic drama was in flower in Elizabethan England.
the best or finest member or part of a number, body, or whole:
the flower of American youth.
the finest or choicest product or example.
flowers, (used with a singular verb) Chemistry. a substance in the form of a fine powder, especially as obtained by sublimation:
flowers of sulfur.
verb (used without object)
to produce flowers; blossom; come to full bloom.
to come out into full development; mature.
verb (used with object)
to cover or deck with flowers.
to decorate with a floral design.
Origin of flower
1150-1200; Middle English flour flower, best of anything < Old French flor, flour, flur < Latin flōr- (stem of flōs). Cf. blossom
Related forms
reflower, verb
Can be confused
flour, flower.
13. develop, flourish, bloom, blossom, ripen. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for flower


  1. a bloom or blossom on a plant
  2. a plant that bears blooms or blossoms
the reproductive structure of angiosperm plants, consisting normally of stamens and carpels surrounded by petals and sepals all borne on the receptacle (one or more of these structures may be absent). In some plants it is conspicuous and brightly coloured and attracts insects or other animals for pollination related adjective floral related prefix antho-
any similar reproductive structure in other plants
the prime; peak: in the flower of his youth
the choice or finest product, part, or representative: the flower of the young men
a decoration or embellishment
(printing) a type ornament, used with others in borders, chapter headings, etc
Also called fleuron. an embellishment or ornamental symbol depicting a flower
(pl) fine powder, usually produced by sublimation: flowers of sulphur
(intransitive) to produce flowers; bloom
(intransitive) to reach full growth or maturity
(transitive) to deck or decorate with flowers or floral designs
Derived Forms
flower-like, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French flor, from Latin flōs; see blow³
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for flower

c.1200, from Old French flor "flower, blossom; heyday, prime; fine flour; elite; innocence, virginity" (Modern French fleur), from Latin florem (nominative flos) "flower" (source of Italian fiore, Spanish flor; see flora).

Modern spelling is 14c. Ousted Old English cognate blostm (see blossom (n.)). Also used from 13c. in sense of "finest part or product of anything" and from c.1300 in the sense of "virginity." Flower children "gentle hippies" is from 1967.


c.1200, "be vigorous, prosper, thrive," from flower (n.). Of a plant or bud, "to blossom," c.1300. Related: Flowered; flowering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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flower in Science

The reproductive structure of the seed-bearing plants known as angiosperms. A flower may contain up to four whorls or arrangements of parts: carpels, stamens, petals, and sepals. The female reproductive organs consist of one or more carpels. Each carpel includes an ovary, style, and stigma. A single carpel or a group of fused carpels is sometimes called a pistil. The male reproductive parts are the stamens, made up of a filament and anther. The reproductive organs may be enclosed in an inner whorl of petals and an outer whorl of sepals. Flowers first appeared over 120 million years ago and have evolved a great diversity of forms and coloration in response to the agents that pollinate them. Some flowers produce nectar to attract animal pollinators, and these flowers are often highly adapted to specific groups of pollinators. Flowers pollinated by moths, such as species of jasmine and nicotiana, are often pale and fragrant in order to be found in the evening, while those pollinated by birds, such as fuschias, are frequently red and odorless, since birds have good vision but a less developed sense of smell. Wind-pollinated flowers, such as those of oak trees or grass, are usually drab and inconspicuous. See Note at pollination.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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flower in Culture

flower definition

The part of a plant that produces the seed. It usually contains petals, a pistil, and pollen-bearing stamens.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for flower

flower 1


  1. An effeminate man or boy; sissy • Horticultural metaphors are favored here: lily, pansy
  2. A male homosexual (1950s+)

flower 2

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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