[flur-ish, fluhr-]
See more synonyms for flourish on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to be in a vigorous state; thrive: a period in which art flourished.
  2. to be in its or in one's prime; be at the height of fame, excellence, influence, etc.
  3. to be successful; prosper.
  4. to grow luxuriantly, or thrive in growth, as a plant.
  5. to make dramatic, sweeping gestures: Flourish more when you act out the king's great death scene.
  6. to add embellishments and ornamental lines to writing, letters, etc.
  7. to sound a trumpet call or fanfare.
verb (used with object)
  1. to brandish dramatically; gesticulate with: a conductor flourishing his baton for the crescendo.
  2. to decorate or embellish (writing, a page of script, etc.) with sweeping or fanciful curves or lines.
  1. an act or instance of brandishing.
  2. an ostentatious display.
  3. a decoration or embellishment, especially in writing: He added a few flourishes to his signature.
  4. Rhetoric. a parade of fine language; an expression used merely for effect.
  5. a trumpet call or fanfare.
  6. a condition or period of thriving: in full flourish.

Origin of flourish

1250–1300; Middle English florisshen < Middle French floriss-, long stem of florirLatin flōrēre to bloom, derivative of flōs flower
Related formsflour·ish·er, nounout·flour·ish, verb (used with object)

Synonyms for flourish

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1. grow, increase. See succeed. 9. ornament. 12. ornament, adornment.

Antonyms for flourish

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for flourish

Contemporary Examples of flourish

Historical Examples of flourish

  • Emma finished the sleeve of the blouse she was mending with a flourish.

  • With a flourish Katy seated him, and carried the packages to Linda.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • And the stranger, with a flourish of his hand, turned to the door.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • Not of late years,' replied the Chief, with a flourish of his hand.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • When he had finished this epistle, Rigaud folded it and tossed it with a flourish at Clennam's feet.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for flourish


  1. (intr) to thrive; prosper
  2. (intr) to be at the peak of condition
  3. (intr) to be healthyplants flourish in the light
  4. to wave or cause to wave in the air with sweeping strokes
  5. to display or make a display
  6. to play (a fanfare, etc) on a musical instrument
  7. (intr) to embellish writing, characters, etc, with ornamental strokes
  8. to add decorations or embellishments to (speech or writing)
  9. (intr) an obsolete word for blossom
  1. the act of waving or brandishing
  2. a showy gesturehe entered with a flourish
  3. an ornamental embellishment in writing
  4. a display of ornamental language or speech
  5. a grandiose passage of music
  6. an ostentatious display or parade
  7. obsolete
    1. the state of flourishing
    2. the state of flowering
Derived Formsflourisher, noun

Word Origin for flourish

C13: from Old French florir, ultimately from Latin flōrēre to flower, from flōs a flower
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 flourish

c.1300, "to blossom, grow," from Old French floriss-, stem of florir "blossom, flower, bloom, flourish," from Latin florere "to bloom, blossom, flower," figuratively "to flourish, be prosperous," from flos "a flower" (see flora).

Metaphoric sense of "thrive" is mid-14c. Meaning "to brandish (a weapon)" first attested late 14c. Related: Flourished; flourishing.


c.1500, "a blossom," from flourish (v.). Meaning "ostentatious waving of a weapon" is from 1550s; that of "literary or rhetorical embellishment" is from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper