Definition of flourish in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈflʌrɪʃ/


1 [no object] (Of a living organism) grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly congenial environment: wild plants flourish on the banks of the lake
More example sentences
  • In the summer months it smelled of warm spices and sweet lavender from the growing gardens where the plants flourished and blossomed.
  • What kind of first year it experiences in a new territory can make the difference between an invading species of mushroom flourishing or failing.
  • Years later people still say to the daughter that the plant is flourishing.
grow, thrive, prosper, grow/do well, develop, burgeon, increase, multiply, proliferate;
spring up, shoot up, bloom, blossom, bear fruit, burst forth, run riot;
put on a spurt, boom, mushroom
1.1Develop rapidly and successfully: the organization has continued to flourish
More example sentences
  • Buddhism itself, however, continues to flourish, having successfully responded to the challenge of colonialism and adapted to modern democracy.
  • For basketball to flourish yet more successfully in England it had to develop a solid infrastructure, said Nelson.
  • It was a time of rapid economic growth for the new country and the university flourished and rapidly expanded.
thriving, prosperous, prospering, booming, burgeoning, successful, strong, vigorous, buoyant;
productive, profitable, fruitful, lucrative;
growing, developing, progressing, improving, expanding, mushrooming, snowballing, ballooning, fast-growing
informal going strong
1.2 [with adverbial] Be working or at the height of one’s career during a specified period: the caricaturist and wit who flourished in the early years of this century
More example sentences
  • The date of the period in which Fukuno flourished is not mentioned in the certificate quoted above.
  • Having said that, the Memoirs, along with the substantial introduction, do give readers the flavour of the Regency period during which Harriette flourished.
  • It is evident from the accounts already given that Chingempin flourished at a later period, and that Miura was his contemporary.
2 [with object] Wave (something) about to attract attention: ‘Happy New Year!’ he yelled, flourishing a bottle of whisky
More example sentences
  • The opening story, Celia, is a cheerless piece about a woman who will go to bed with anyone who flourishes a bottle.
  • At the same time he opened them to a procession of shonks, one of whom went around the world flourishing a letter signed by Cairns authorising him to raise funds for the Australian government.
  • Now the water was up to his chest and his right arm flourished the vodka bottle over his head.
brandish, wave, shake, wield, raise, hold aloft;
swing, twirl, wag, swish, flap;
display, exhibit, flaunt, vaunt, parade, show off


1A bold or extravagant gesture or action, made especially to attract attention: with a flourish, she ushered them inside
More example sentences
  • With a flourish and a gesture that was almost comical in its theatrics, she ignored my queen and advanced a totally unconnected pawn.
  • With a flourish he stood, gesturing for me to stand as well.
  • Now, pigeons sit on his shoulders, and passing poets salute him with a flourish of the walking stick.
1.1An elaborate rhetorical or literary expression.
Example sentences
  • Being mere insiders, uncritically, may often result in the production of mindless celebratory writing, rhetorical flourishes, and populist clichés - so easy to imbibe and so banal.
  • Both strategies are crowned by a dramatic rhetorical flourish in which a final gender reversal is made to reveal the fundamental hypocrisy of men who would deny women access to learning.
  • But this is just a rhetorical flourish - he doesn't really mean it literally.
1.2An ornamental flowing curve in handwriting or scrollwork: letters with an emphatic flourish beneath them
More example sentences
  • Unnecessary curves, strokes, flourishes, dots and lines can prove to be counter-productive, he says.
  • Papa's script was so beautiful it was almost illegible and now, when I see something he wrote, those flowing tails and flourishes make my throat close.
  • My handwriting was so much more simple than her flourishes and sweeps and big spacing.
2An impressive and successful act or period: United produced a late second-half flourish
More example sentences
  • Arcand occasionally achieves some impressive directorial flourishes but he is severely constrained by his self-imposed limitation of imitating a string of dreadful TV talk shows.
  • A number of substitutions were then made by both sides before an impressive late flourish by Crettyard Gaels left just four points between the sides at the finish.
  • Okay, so they seem to only have a knack for the final flourish; and it would be nice if they actually won a series for a change, but I'll take whatever they can muster at this point.
3 Music A fanfare played by brass instruments: a flourish of trumpets
More example sentences
  • The Basque Gabriel's Message (again in an arrangement by Harvey) is properly festive with flourishes in the trumpets to accompany the Annunciation.
  • By contrast, St Cecilia sweeps in on joyous flourishes from trumpets and drums, with rushing strings as buoyant as those that welcome Handel's Queen of Sheba.
  • ‘Eskimo Lament’ comes first, drenched in sombre piano and plucked guitar, before the arrival of gorgeous harmonies and trumpet flourishes.
3.1An ornate musical passage.
Example sentences
  • As sudden musical flourishes precede and follow more tentative, delicate passages, so hope and anxiety seem to dance across the song's brightly colored sonic eggshell floor.
  • They turn out a flamboyant blend of jazz, folk, funk and classical guitar, with flourishes of Latin acoustic guitar of a most impressive standard.
  • The subtle string flourishes and guitar parts in the background are what really make the song, though, as Rouse's voice is merely serviceable in the understated verses.
3.2An extemporized addition played especially at the beginning or end of a composition.
Example sentences
  • For the songwriter looking to add more than a few twists to his compositions, or the arranger looking to add jazz flourishes to otherwise straightforward pop tunes, this certainly could be a fun book to consider.
  • For a single string instrument to take centre stage, as opposed to a mere flourish or adornment of a greater composition, it needs depth and commanding presence to fill the space.
  • With a flourish and dramatic double-punch at the keys the music has taken over the room and his finale is performed in awed silence as a few people sip at their drinks, eyes affixed to the young man's back.



Example sentences
  • Keep practicing, and eventually you will be a master flourisher.
  • You're a really talented flourisher, keep up the awesome work!
  • I disagree that he needs the ball at his feet much, I don't think he's ever been that kind of player - he's more of a finisher than a flourisher.


Middle English: from Old French floriss-, lengthened stem of florir, based on Latin florere, from flos, flor- 'a flower'. The noun senses 'ornamental curve' and 'florid expression' come from an obsolete sense of the verb, 'adorn' (originally with flowers).

Words that rhyme with flourish


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: flour|ish

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