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  1. the flower of a plant.
  2. flowers collectively: the bloom of the cherry tree.
  3. state of having the buds opened: The gardens are all in bloom.
  4. a flourishing, healthy condition; the time or period of greatest beauty, artistry, etc.: the bloom of youth; the bloom of Romanticism.
  5. a glow or flush on the cheek indicative of youth and health: a serious illness that destroyed her bloom.
  6. the glossy, healthy appearance of the coat of an animal.
  7. a moist, lustrous appearance indicating freshness in fish.
  8. redness or a fresh appearance on the surface of meat.
  9. Botany. a whitish powdery deposit or coating, as on the surface of certain fruits and leaves: the bloom of the grape.
  10. any similar surface coating or appearance: the bloom of newly minted coins.
  11. any of certain minerals occurring as powdery coatings on rocks or other minerals.
  12. Also called chill. a clouded or dull area on a varnished or lacquered surface.
  13. Also called algal bloom, water bloom. the sudden development of conspicuous masses of organisms, as algae, on the surface of a body of water.
  14. Television. image spread produced by excessive exposure of highlights in a television image.
verb (used without object)
  1. to produce or yield blossoms.
  2. to flourish or thrive: a recurrent fad that blooms from time to time.
  3. to be in or achieve a state of healthful beauty and vigor: a sickly child who suddenly bloomed; a small talent that somehow bloomed into major artistry.
  4. to glow with warmth or with a warm color.
verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to yield blossoms.
  2. to make bloom or cause to flourish: a happiness that blooms the cheek.
  3. to invest with luster or beauty: an industry that blooms one's talents.
  4. to cause a cloudy area on (something shiny); dampen; chill: Their breath bloomed the frosty pane.
  5. Optics. to coat (a lens) with an antireflection material.
  1. take the bloom off, to remove the enjoyment or ultimate satisfaction from; dampen the enthusiasm over: The coach's illness took the bloom off the team's victory.
  2. the bloom is off (the rose), the excitement, enjoyment, interest, etc., has ended or been dampened.

Origin of bloom

1150–1200; (noun) Middle English blom, blome < Old Norse blōm, blōmi; cognate with Gothic blōma lily, German Blume flower; akin to blow3; (v.) Middle English blomen, derivative of the noun
Related formsbloom·less, adjective

Synonyms for bloom

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  1. a piece of steel, square or slightly oblong in section, reduced from an ingot to dimensions suitable for further rolling.
  2. a large lump of iron and slag, of pasty consistency when hot, produced in a puddling furnace or bloomery and hammered into wrought iron.
verb (used with object)
  1. to make (an ingot) into a bloom.

Origin of bloom

before 1000; representing Anglo-Latin, Anglo-French blomes (plural), Old English blōma mass of iron; perhaps akin to bloom1


  1. Harold,born 1930, U.S. literary critic and teacher. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for bloom


  1. a blossom on a flowering plant; a flower
  2. the state, time, or period when flowers open (esp in the phrases in bloom, in full bloom)
  3. open flowers collectivelya tree covered with bloom
  4. a healthy, vigorous, or flourishing condition; prime (esp in the phrase the bloom of youth)
  5. youthful or healthy rosiness in the cheeks or face; glow
  6. a fine whitish coating on the surface of fruits, leaves, etc, consisting of minute grains of a waxy substance
  7. any coating similar in appearance, such as that on new coins
  8. ecology a visible increase in the algal constituent of plankton, which may be seasonal or due to excessive organic pollution
  9. Also called: chill a dull area formed on the surface of gloss paint, lacquer, or varnish
verb (mainly intr)
  1. (of flowers) to open; come into flower
  2. to bear flowers; blossom
  3. to flourish or grow
  4. to be in a healthy, glowing, or flourishing condition
  5. (tr) physics to coat (a lens) with a thin layer of a substance, often magnesium fluoride, to eliminate surface reflection

Word Origin for bloom

C13: of Germanic origin; compare Old Norse blōm flower, Old High German bluomo, Middle Dutch bloeme; see blow ³


  1. a rectangular mass of metal obtained by rolling or forging a cast ingotSee also billet 1 (def. 2)
  1. (tr) to convert (an ingot) into a bloom by rolling or forging

Word Origin for bloom

Old English blōma lump of metal
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

Word Origin and History for bloom

"blossom of a plant," c.1200, a northern word, from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse blomi "flower, blossom," also collectively "flowers and foliage on trees;" from Proto-Germanic *blomon (cf. Old Saxon blomo, Middle Dutch bloeme, Dutch bloem, Old High German bluomo, German Blume, Gothic bloma), from PIE *bhle- (cf. Old Irish blath "blossom, flower," Latin flos "flower," florere "to blossom, flourish"), extended form of *bhel- (2) "to blow, inflate, swell" (see bole). Related to Old English blowan "to flower" (see blow (v.2)).

Transferred sense, of persons, is from c.1300; meaning "state of greatest loveliness" is from early 14c.; that of "blush on the cheeks" is from 1752. Old English had cognate bloma, but only in the figurative sense of "state of greatest beauty;" the main word in Old English for "flower" was blostm (see blossom).


"rough mass of wrought iron," from Old English bloma "lump of metal; mass," of unknown origin. Identical in form to bloom (n.1), and sometimes regarded as a secondary sense of it, but evidence of a connection is wanting.


mid-13c., blomen, from the noun (see bloom (n.1)). Related: Bloomed; blooming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper