From Middle English braundishen, from Old French brandiss-, stem of brandir (“to flourish a sword”), from Frankish *brandijan, from Frankish *brand (“firebrand; sword”), from Proto-Germanic *brandaz (“fire; flame; sword”). Cognate with Old English brand (“firebrand; torch”). See brand.
- (transitive) To move or swing a weapon back and forth, particularly if demonstrating anger, threat or skill.
- He brandished his sword at the pirates.
- (Can we date this quote by Drake and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
- the quivering lance which he brandished bright
- 1906, Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman:
- Back, he spurred like a madman, shouting a curse to the sky,
- With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
- Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
- (transitive) To bear something with ostentatious show.
- to brandish syllogisms
- 1749, [John Cleland], “(Please specify the letter or volume)”, in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure [Fanny Hill], London: Printed [by Thomas Parker] for G. Fenton [i.e., Fenton and Ralph Griffiths] […], OCLC 731622352:
- Long, however, the young spark did not remain before giving it two or three shakes, by way of brandishing it
- 2011, Jejomar C. Binay, Binay: Blame corruption on modern consumerism, Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation, :
- It sets the stage for cutting corners in our principles just so we can brandish a perceived badge of stature.
brandish (plural brandishes)
- The act of flourishing or waving.