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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.



brandish (third-person singular simple present brandishes, present participle brandishing, simple past and past participle brandished)

  1. (transitive) To move or swing (a weapon) back and forth, particularly if demonstrating anger, threat or skill.
    He brandished his sword at the pirates.
    • Drake
      the quivering lance which he brandished bright
  2. (transitive) To bear something with ostentatious show.
    to brandish syllogisms
    • 2011, Jejomar C. Binay, Binay: Blame corruption on modern consumerism, Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation, [1]:
      It sets the stage for cutting corners in our principles just so we can brandish a perceived badge of stature.
    • 1749, John Cleland, “part 2”, in Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, London: G. Fenton, OCLC 13050889:
      Long, however, the young spark did not remain before giving it two or three shakes, by way of brandishing it




brandish (plural brandishes)

  1. The act of flourishing or waving.