from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To grow well or luxuriantly; thrive.
  • intransitive verb To do or fare well; prosper.
  • intransitive verb To be in a period of highest productivity, excellence, or influence.
  • intransitive verb To make bold, sweeping movements.
  • intransitive verb To wield, wave, or exhibit dramatically.
  • noun A dramatic or stylish movement, as of waving or brandishing.
  • noun An embellishment or ornamentation.
  • noun An ostentatious act or gesture.
  • noun Music A showy or ceremonious passage, such as a fanfare.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To bloom; blossom; flower.
  • To thrive under natural forces or conditions; be in a state of natural vigor or development; grow or be developed vigorously.
  • To thrive under social or spiritual forces or relations; be vigorous in action or development; be successful or prosperous.
  • To be in a state of active existence or actual exercise; exist in activity or practice.
  • To make flourishes; use flowery or fanciful embellishments: as, to flourish in writing or speech.
  • To move or be moved in fantastic, irregular figures; play with fantastic or wavering motion.
  • In music:
  • To boast; vaunt; brag.
  • To shake; be brandished.
  • To cause to bloom; cause to thrive or grow luxuriantly.
  • To cause to prosper; preserve.
  • To embellish with flourishes, as handwriting, diction, etc.; adorn with flowery or showy words, figures, or lines; in general, to ornament profusely in any way: as, to flourish a signature.
  • To finish with care; enlarge and embellish; elaborate.
  • To brandish; hold in the hand and shake or wave about; hence, to display ostentatiously; flaunt: as, to flourish a sword or a whip; to flourish one's wealth or finery; to flourish one's authority.
  • To gloss over; give a fair appearance to.
  • noun A flourishing condition.
  • noun Showy adornment; decoration; ornament.
  • noun Ostentatious embellishment; ambitious copiousness or amplification; especially, parade of words and figures; rhetorical display.
  • noun A figure formed by bold or fanciful lines or strokes of the pen or graver: as, the flourishes about an initial letter.
  • noun A brandishing; the waving of something held in the hand: as, the flourish of a sword, a cane, or a whip.
  • noun In music: An elaborate but unmeaning passage for display, or as a preparation for real performance.
  • noun A trumpet-call; a fanfare.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To grow luxuriantly; to increase and enlarge, as a healthy growing plant; a thrive.
  • intransitive verb To be prosperous; to increase in wealth, honor, comfort, happiness, or whatever is desirable; to thrive; to be prominent and influental; specifically, of authors, painters, etc., to be in a state of activity or production.
  • intransitive verb To use florid language; to indulge in rhetorical figures and lofty expressions; to be flowery.
  • intransitive verb To make bold and sweeping, fanciful, or wanton movements, by way of ornament, parade, bravado, etc.; to play with fantastic and irregular motion.
  • intransitive verb To make ornamental strokes with the pen; to write graceful, decorative figures.
  • intransitive verb To execute an irregular or fanciful strain of music, by way of ornament or prelude.
  • intransitive verb To boast; to vaunt; to brag.
  • transitive verb obsolete To adorn with flowers orbeautiful figures, either natural or artificial; to ornament with anything showy; to embellish.
  • transitive verb obsolete To embellish with the flowers of diction; to adorn with rhetorical figures; to grace with ostentatious eloquence; to set off with a parade of words.
  • transitive verb To move in bold or irregular figures; to swing about in circles or vibrations by way of show or triumph; to brandish.
  • transitive verb obsolete To develop; to make thrive; to expand.
  • noun Archaic A flourishing condition; prosperity; vigor.
  • noun Decoration; ornament; beauty.
  • noun Something made or performed in a fanciful, wanton, or vaunting manner, by way of ostentation, to excite admiration, etc.; ostentatious embellishment; ambitious copiousness or amplification; parade of words and figures; show.
  • noun A fanciful stroke of the pen or graver; a merely decorative figure.
  • noun A fantastic or decorative musical passage; a strain of triumph or bravado, not forming part of a regular musical composition; a cal; a fanfare.
  • noun The waving of a weapon or other thing; a brandishing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive To thrive or grow well.
  • verb intransitive To prosper or fare well.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English florishen, from Old French florir, floriss-, from Vulgar Latin *flōrīre, from Latin flōrēre, to bloom, from flōs, flōr-, flower; see bhel- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English florisshen, flurisshen, and from Old French floriss-, stem of some conjugated forms of florir, (French fleurir);, from Vulgar Latin florire, from Latin flōreō ("I bloom") (with influence from flōrēscō), from flōs ("flower"). See flower + -ish.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word flourish.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • I saw this today as flour-ish and now can't unsee it. Ironically it's more akin to flower-ish but I'm feeling bready, so there.

    November 26, 2019

  • Just like in that song, 'People Get Bready'.

    November 26, 2019