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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.


  • IPA(key): /ˈbɹændɪʃ/
  • (file)
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  • Rhymes: -ændɪʃ


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.
    • (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,
  2. (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, [1]:
      It sets the stage for cutting corners in our principles just so we can brandish a perceived badge of stature.




brandish (plural brandishes)

  1. The act of flourishing or waving.