Definitions

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

  • transitive verb To wave or flourish (something, often a weapon) in a menacing, defiant, or excited way. synonym: flourish.
  • noun A menacing, defiant, or excited wave or flourish of something.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To move or wave, as a weapon; raise and move in various directions; shake or flourish about: as, to brandish a sword or a cane.
  • Figuratively, to play with; flourish: as, “to brandish syllogisms,”
  • To move with a flourish; toss.
  • noun A shake or flourish, as of a weapon.

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

  • transitive verb To move or wave, as a weapon; to raise and move in various directions; to shake or flourish.
  • transitive verb To play with; to flourish.
  • noun A flourish, as with a weapon, whip, etc.

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

  • verb transitive To move or swing a weapon back and forth, particularly if demonstrating skill.
  • verb transitive To bear something with ostentatious show.
  • noun The act of flourishing or waving.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb move or swing back and forth
  • noun the act of waving
  • verb exhibit aggressively

Etymologies

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

[Middle English brandissen, from Old French brandir, brandiss-, from brand, sword, of Germanic origin; see gwher- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

First attested 1340, from Old French brandiss-, from brandir ("to flourish a sword") (see brand).

Examples

  • In a deadly error of judgement, Dziekanski grabbed a stapler (which, in another lapse of police procedure, was not recovered from the scene) and held it up to his chest -- he didn't "brandish" it or "wave" it -- in what could well have been an instinctive defensive move.

    Archive 2009-02-01

  • Now his is not going to "brandish" it, just have it out in plain site, in his hand, ready to use.

    Obama Volunteer On Scene Disputes Fox News' Suggestions That Black Panthers Are Intimidating Voters

  • Only it having been always accounted a very rational and allowed way, to judge what may be by what has been, you may remember that about forty years since this word popery served such as brandish it about the ears of the government now, as an effectual engine to pull down the monarchy to the ground, to destroy episcopacy root and branch, and to rob the church, and almost all honest men, to the last farthing.

    Sermons Preached Upon Several Occasions. Vol. IV.

  • 'brandish' of Fielding's Constitutional pen, on October 26, 1748, his oaths had been received as a Justice of the Peace for Westminster.

    Henry Fielding A Memoir

  • If a product is going to brandish a “Made in USA” label, however, one requirement is that at least 75 percent of its manufacturing cost be incurred in the USA.

    The English Is Coming!

  • If a product is going to brandish a “Made in USA” label, however, one requirement is that at least 75 percent of its manufacturing cost be incurred in the USA.

    The English Is Coming!

  • Brown was always going to brandish their budget before Republicans as an example of what might end up being the product -- with none of the various fiscal and regulatory reforms they supposedly want more on the "supposed" part in a moment -- as part of his late stage negotiations with them.

    William Bradley: Jerry Brown's Big Budget Veto, and Where It Goes From Here

  • Brown was always going to brandish their budget before Republicans as an example of what might end up being the product -- with none of the various fiscal and regulatory reforms they supposedly want more on the "supposed" part in a moment -- as part of his late stage negotiations with them.

    William Bradley: Jerry Brown's Big Budget Veto, and Where It Goes From Here

  • While riding the bus a couple of days ago, I watched an older lady brandish a copy of the current Willamette Week and say, to another lady across the aisle: Look!

    Beau Breedlove supports the Adams recall (Jack Bog's Blog)

  • Brown was always going to brandish their budget before Republicans as an example of what might end up being the product -- with none of the various fiscal and regulatory reforms they supposedly want more on the "supposed" part in a moment -- as part of his late stage negotiations with them.

    William Bradley: Jerry Brown's Big Budget Veto, and Where It Goes From Here

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • "During the G-20 summit in the Pittsburgh area last week, police arrested two activists. These particular activists weren’t breaking windows. They weren’t setting cars on fire. They weren’t even parading around brandishing giant puppets and chanting anti-capitalist slogans."

    - Thomas Knapp, The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted…, c4ss.org, 5 Oct 2009.

    November 6, 2009

  • Perhaps they were arrested for impersonating activists?

    November 7, 2009