verb (used with object)

to shake or wave, as a weapon; flourish: Brandishing his sword, he rode into battle.


a flourish or waving, as of a weapon.

Origin of brandish

1275–1325; Middle English bra(u)ndisshen < Anglo-French, Middle French brandiss- (long stem of brandir, derivative of brand sword < Gmc). See brand, -ish2
Related formsbran·dish·er, noun

Synonyms for brandish Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for brandish

Contemporary Examples of brandish

  • Those who do nothing to end the slaughter are as complicit as those who brandish their weapons.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Coalition of the Unwilling

    Christopher Dickey

    September 7, 2013

  • It does not give you license to brandish a gun and wave it around.

    The Daily Beast logo
    American Gun Law 5

    David Frum

    December 18, 2012

  • Both Cameron and Sarkozy will now brandish their cojones, claiming to have had “a good war.”

    The Daily Beast logo
    Libya War’s Unsung Heroes

    Clive Irving

    August 22, 2011

  • As with his Harvard degree, Obama did not hesitate to brandish his pretty white wife with the Boston accent.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Tragic Life of Barack Obama’s Father

    Sally H. Jacobs

    July 10, 2011

Historical Examples of brandish

British Dictionary definitions for brandish


verb (tr)

to wave or flourish (a weapon) in a triumphant, threatening, or ostentatious way


a threatening or defiant flourish
Derived Formsbrandisher, noun

Word Origin for brandish

C14: from Old French brandir, from brand sword, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German brant weapon
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 brandish

mid-14c., from Old French brandiss-, present participle stem of brandir "to flourish (a sword)" (12c.), from brant "blade of a sword, prow of a ship," of Frankish origin (see brand (n.)). Related: Brandished; brandishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper