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verb (used with object)
  1. to shake or wave, as a weapon; flourish: Brandishing his sword, he rode into battle.
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  1. a flourish or waving, as of a weapon.
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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


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1. swing, flaunt, wield, display.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for brandish


verb (tr)
  1. to wave or flourish (a weapon) in a triumphant, threatening, or ostentatious way
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  1. a threatening or defiant flourish
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Derived Formsbrandisher, noun

Word Origin

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper