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Definitions

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

  • intransitive v. To grow well or luxuriantly; thrive: The crops flourished in the rich soil.
  • intransitive v. To do or fare well; prosper: "No village on the railroad failed to flourish” ( John Kenneth Galbraith).
  • intransitive v. To be in a period of highest productivity, excellence, or influence: a poet who flourished in the tenth century.
  • intransitive v. To make bold, sweeping movements: The banner flourished in the wind.
  • transitive v. To wield, wave, or exhibit dramatically.
  • n. A dramatic or stylish movement, as of waving or brandishing: "A few ... musicians embellish their performance with a flourish of the fingers” ( Frederick D. Bennett).
  • n. An embellishment or ornamentation: a signature with a distinctive flourish.
  • n. An ostentatious act or gesture: a flourish of generosity.
  • n. Music A showy or ceremonious passage, such as a fanfare.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To thrive or grow well.
  • v. To prosper or fare well.
  • v. To be in a period of greatest influence.
  • v. To make bold, sweeping movements with.
  • n. A dramatic gesture such as the waving of a flag.
  • n. An ornamentation.
  • n. A ceremonious passage such as a fanfare.
  • n. A decorative embellishment on a building.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To grow luxuriantly; to increase and enlarge, as a healthy growing plant; a thrive.
  • intransitive v. 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 v. To use florid language; to indulge in rhetorical figures and lofty expressions; to be flowery.
  • intransitive v. To make bold and sweeping, fanciful, or wanton movements, by way of ornament, parade, bravado, etc.; to play with fantastic and irregular motion.
  • intransitive v. To make ornamental strokes with the pen; to write graceful, decorative figures.
  • intransitive v. To execute an irregular or fanciful strain of music, by way of ornament or prelude.
  • intransitive v. To boast; to vaunt; to brag.
  • transitive v. To adorn with flowers orbeautiful figures, either natural or artificial; to ornament with anything showy; to embellish.
  • transitive v. 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 v. To move in bold or irregular figures; to swing about in circles or vibrations by way of show or triumph; to brandish.
  • transitive v. To develop; to make thrive; to expand.
  • n. A flourishing condition; prosperity; vigor.
  • n. Decoration; ornament; beauty.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A fanciful stroke of the pen or graver; a merely decorative figure.
  • n. A fantastic or decorative musical passage; a strain of triumph or bravado, not forming part of a regular musical composition; a cal; a fanfare.
  • n. The waving of a weapon or other thing; a brandishing.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. A flourishing condition.
  • n. Showy adornment; decoration; ornament.
  • n. Ostentatious embellishment; ambitious copiousness or amplification; especially, parade of words and figures; rhetorical display.
  • n. A figure formed by bold or fanciful lines or strokes of the pen or graver: as, the flourishes about an initial letter.
  • n. A brandishing; the waving of something held in the hand: as, the flourish of a sword, a cane, or a whip.
  • n. In music: An elaborate but unmeaning passage for display, or as a preparation for real performance.
  • n. A trumpet-call; a fanfare.

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

  • v. move or swing back and forth
  • v. make steady progress; be at the high point in one's career or reach a high point in historical significance or importance
  • v. grow vigorously
  • n. (music) a short lively tune played on brass instruments
  • n. a display of ornamental speech or language
  • n. a showy gesture
  • n. the act of waving
  • n. an ornamental embellishment in writing

Etymologies

Middle English florishen, from Old French florir, floriss-, from Vulgar Latin *flōrīre, from Latin flōrēre, to bloom, from flōs, flōr-, flower.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He saw the label flourish throughout the 2000s, releasing women's and men's ready-to-wear collections as well as accessories, eyewear and two fragrances.

    Life and style | guardian.co.uk

  • Upsets may occur, even painful misunderstandings and separations, yet the essential love remains, and might again flourish, more temperately.

    A Conversation With Joyce Carol Oates

  • The chief design flourish is the patterned panel on the sides of the jersey and shorts that evokes the shell of a diamondback terrapin.

    Terps Unveil New Uniforms, Chemistry at Maryland Madness

  • If the striper population flourished during the years of commercial fishing then why can it not again flourish along with commercial fishing.

    Should MA Make Striped Bass A Protected Game Fish?

  • The way an authoritarian government can flourish is to create a sub-maximization: look at all the trouble that people who are trying to over-throw us are causing.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Thanks, Google:

  • To make him the foil and flip-side of his own deranged killer for the purposes of a cutesy rhetorical flourish is obscene.

    Will Saletan’s Moderation

  • Beyond the obvious (of how babies happen), I was merely saying what countless studies have shown – that the best (ideal) opportunity for children to flourish is when they have a stable home life with a mother and father.

    My argument against Proposition 8 | FactoryCity

  • Edmunde Burke (I think) said: The only thing required for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.

    Nothing But Greenlights « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • Comey's testimonial flourish is actually yet another rehashing of whether the president's responsibility as commander in chief (under Article II) and the broad grant of all "necessary and appropriate" power given in military authorization by Congress trumps the ill-fitting FISA statute, which was drafted in peacetime and whose leisurely espionage structure arguably contemplates exceptions to its warrant regime premised on "other statutes."

    Balkinization

  • But the fact is that the question of foundations for the discourse of non-negotiable rights is not one that lends itself to simple resolution in secular terms; so it is not at all odd if diverse ways of framing this question in religious terms flourish so persistently.

    Archbishop - Religious Faith and Human Rights

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