From Middle English blosme, from Old English blōstm, blōstma, from Proto-Germanic *blōsmaz (compare West Frisian blossem, bloesem), an enlargement of *blōstaz (compare German Blust), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰleh₃-s- (“bloom, flower”), from *bʰleh₃- (“to bloom, to thrive”). Cognate with Albanian bleron (“to blossom, to thrive”), Latin flōs (“flower”), Flōra (“goddess of plants”). See more at blow (etymology 4).
blossom (countable and uncountable, plural blossoms)
- A flower, especially one indicating that a fruit tree is fruiting; (collectively) a mass of such flowers.
The blossom has come early this year.
1560, [William Whittingham et al., transl.], The Bible and Holy Scriptures Conteyned in the Olde and Newe Testament. […] (the Geneva Bible), Geneva: Printed by Rouland Hall, OCLC 557472409, Nombers XVII:8, folio 70, recto: And when Moſes on the morowe went into the Tabernacle of the Teſtimonie, beholde, the rod of Aarón for the houſe of Leuí was budded, and broght forthe buddes, & broght forthe bloſſoms & bare ripe almondes.
1711 March 16, Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, editors, The Spectator, volume I, number 16, London: Printed for S[amuel] Buckley, at the Dolphin in Little-Britain; and J[acob] Tonson, at Shakespear's-Head over-against Catherine-street in the Strand, OCLC 642176139, page 89:
Foppiſh and fantaſtick Ornaments are only Indications of Vice, not criminal in themſelves. Extinguiſh Vanity in the Mind, and you naturally retrench the little Superfluities of Garniture and Equipage. The Bloſſoms will fall of themſelves, when the Root that nouriſhes them is deſtroyed.
1818, [Mary Shelley], chapter III, in Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, London: Printed for Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, OCLC 830979744; republished as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein: Or, The Modern Prometheus [...] In Two Volumes, volume I, new (2nd) edition, London: Printed for G. and W. B. Whittaker, Ave-Maria-Lane, 1823, OCLC 270812039, page 95:
Winter, spring, and summer passed away during my labours; but I did not watch the blossom or the expanding leaves—sights which before always yielded me supreme delight—so deeply was I engrossed in my occupation.
- The state or season of producing such flowers.
The orchard is in blossom.
1919 October, John Galsworthy, chapter I, in Saint’s Progress, London: William Heinemann, published December 1919, OCLC 731506428, part III, § I, page 217:
Down by the River Wye, among plum-trees in blossom, Noel had laid her baby in a hammock, and stood reading a letter: […]
- (figuratively) A blooming period or stage of development; something lovely that gives rich promise.
c. 1619–1622, Philip Massinger, “A Very Woman”, in Three New Playes: viz. The Bashful Lover, Guardian, Very Woman. As They have been Often Acted at the Private-house in Black-Friers, by His Late Majesties Servants, with Great Applause, London: Printed for Humphrey Moseley, and are to be sold at his shop at the sign of the Prince's Arms in St. Pauls Church-yard, published 1655, OCLC 606994547, Act IV, scene iii; republished as W[illiam] Gifford, editor, The Plays of Philip Massinger, in Four Volumes. With Notes Critical and Explanatory, volume IV, London: Printed for G[eorge] and W[illiam] Nicol [et al.] by W[illiam] Bulmer and Co., Cleveland-Row, St. James's, 1805, OCLC 277732987, page 317:
This beauty, in the blossom of my youth, / When my first fire knew no adulterate incense, / Nor I no way to flatter, but my fondness; / […] long did I love this lady, / Long was my travail, long my trade to win her; / With all the duty of my soul, I served her.
- The colour of a horse that has white hairs intermixed with sorrel and bay hairs.
1834–1847, Robert Southey, “A Feeble Attempt to Describe the Physical and Moral Qualities of Nobs”, in John Wood Warter, editor, The Doctor, &c., London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green and Longman, OCLC 18206450; new edition, London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1862, OCLC 77702111, page 358, column 2: For colour he [Nobs, a horse] was neither black-bay, brown-bay, dapple-bay, black-grey, iron-grey, sad-grey, branded-grey, sandy-grey, dapple-grey, silver-grey, dun, mouse-dun, flea-backed, flea-bitten, rount, blossom, roan, pye-bald, rubican, sorrel, cow-coloured sorrel, bright sorrel, burnt sorrel, starling-colour, tyger-colour, wolf-colour, deer-colour, cream-colour, white, grey, or black. Neither was he green, like the horse which the Emperor [Septimus] Severus took from the Parthians, […]
flowers on trees
- Macedonian: цвет m (cvet)
- Maori: puanga
- Mazanderani: وشکو (vëšku)
- Middle English: blosme
- Old English: blōstma m
- Persian: شکوفه (fa) (šokufe)
- Polish: kwiat (pl) m
- Portuguese: flor (pt) f
- Romanian: floare (ro) f
- Russian: цвето́к (ru) (cvetók)
- Sanskrit: पुष्प (sa) n (puṣpa)
- Scottish Gaelic: blàth m, dìthean m, flùr m
- Cyrillic: бехар m, цвет m, цвијет m, цват m
- Roman: behar (sh) m, cvet (sh) m, cvijet (sh) m, cvat (sh) m
- Slovak: kvet m
- Slovene: cvet (sl) m
- Spanish: flor (es) f
- Swedish: blomma (sv) c
- Tajik: шукуфа (šukufa)
- Thai: ดอกไม้ (th) (dɔ̀ɔk-máai), ดอก (dɔ̀ɔk)
- Tibetan: མེ་ཏོག (me tog)
- Turkish: çiçek (tr), bahar (tr)
- Ukrainian: кві́тка (uk) f (kvítka), цвіт (uk) m (cvit)
- Vietnamese: bông (vi)
- Zulu: imbali class 9/10, umqhakazo class 3/4
state or season for such flowers
blooming period or stage of development
blossom (third-person singular simple present blossoms, present participle blossoming, simple past and past participle blossomed)
- (intransitive) To have, or open into, blossoms; to bloom.
1560, [William Whittingham et al., transl.], The Bible and Holy Scriptures Conteyned in the Olde and Newe Testament. […] (the Geneva Bible), Geneva: Printed by Rouland Hall, OCLC 557472409, Nombers XVII:1–2 and 5, folio 70, recto: And the Lord ſpake vnto Moſés, ſaying, / Speake vnto the childrẽ of Iſraél, & take of euerie one of them a rod, after ye houſe of their fathers, of all their princes according to the familie of their fathers, euen twelue rods: and thou ſhalt write euerie mans name vpon his rod. […] And the mans rod, whome I choſe, ſhall bloſſom: and I wil make ceaſe from me the grudgings of the children of Iſraél, which grudge againſt you. 1851 June 22, Henry D[avid] Thoreau, H. G. O. Blake, editor, Summer: From the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau, London: T. Fisher Unwin, 26 Paternoster Square E.C., published 1884, page 210:
The Utricularia vulgaris or bladder-wort, a yellow pea-like flower, has blossomed in stagnant pools.
- (intransitive) To begin to thrive or flourish.
1869, Louisa M[ay] Alcott, “Gossip”, in Little Women: Or, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, part second, Boston, Mass.: Roberts Brothers, OCLC 30743985, page 5:
A quiet, studious man, rich in the wisdom that is better than learning, the charity which calls all mankind "brother," the piety that blossoms into character, making it august and lovely.
1961 January 30, Rico Lebrun, “New Haven · Capri · Rome (1958–1960) [To David Lebrun from Los Angeles, January 30, 1961]”, in James Renner and David Lebrun, editors, In the Meridian of the Heart: Selected Letters of Rico Lebrun, Boston, Mass.: David R. Godine, Publisher, →ISBN, page 66: Since I came back from Pomona I have done many drawings to illustrate the Inferno of Dante [Alighieri] and I find my old Italian love blossoming all over again for this greatest of all master poets, bar none.
have or open into blossoms
- Arabic: زَهَرَ (zahara)
- Armenian: բողբոջել (hy) (bołboǰel)
- Assamese: ফুলা (phula)
- Belarusian: цвісці́ impf (cviscí)
- Bulgarian: цъфвам (cǎfvam), цъфтя (bg) (cǎftja)
- Catalan: florir (ca)
- Mandarin: 開花 (zh), 开花 (zh) (kāihuā), 開 (zh), 开 (zh) (kāi)
- Czech: kvést impf
- Finnish: kukkia (fi), puhjeta (fi)
- French: fleurir (fr)
- Friulian: florî
- Galician: frorecer, frolear, choridar, esbrochar, chorir
- Georgian: ყვავის (q̇vavis), იფურჩქნება (ipurčkneba)
- German: blühen (de), erblühen (de)
- Alemannic German: blüeje
- Ancient: ἀνθέω (anthéō)
- Hungarian: virágzik (hu)
- Italian: fiorire (it)
- Japanese: 咲く (ja) (さく, saku)
- Korean: 피다 (ko) (pida)
- Sorani: پشکووتن (pişkûtin)
- Kyrgyz: гүлдө (ky) (güldö)
- Latin: flōreō
- Luxembourgish: bléien, floréieren
- Macedonian: цути impf (cuti)
- Maori: manahua, ngawhā, pua, matikao
- Middle English: blosmen
- Bokmål: blomstre
- Nynorsk: blomstre, bløme
- Old English: blōstmian
- Persian: شکفتن (fa) (šekoftan)
- Polish: kwitnąć (pl) impf
- Portuguese: desabrochar (pt), florir (pt), florescer (pt)
- Quechua: t'ikay, waytay
- Romanian: înflori (ro)
- Russian: цвести́ (ru) impf (cvestí), расцвета́ть (ru) impf (rascvetátʹ), расцвести́ (ru) pf (rascvestí)
- Cyrillic: цветати impf, цвјетати impf
- Roman: cvetati (sh) impf, cvjetati (sh) impf
- Slovak: kvitnúť impf
- Slovene: cveteti (sl) impf
- Spanish: florecer (es)
- Swedish: blomma (sv)
- Thai: บาน (th) (baan)
- Ukrainian: цвісти́ (uk) impf (cvistý)
- Vietnamese: nở (vi)
- Volapük: florön (vo)
begin to thrive or flourish