Etymology
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flower (v.)
c. 1200, "be vigorous, prosper, thrive," from flower (n.). Of a plant or bud, "to blossom," c. 1300. Meaning "adorn or cover with flowers" is from 1570s. Related: Flowered; flowering.
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flower (n.)

c. 1200, flour, also flur, flor, floer, floyer, flowre, "the blossom of a plant; a flowering plant," from Old French flor "flower, blossom; heyday, prime; fine flour; elite; innocence, virginity" (12c., Modern French fleur), from Latin florem (nominative flos) "flower" (source of Italian fiore, Spanish flor), from PIE root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom."

From late 14c. in English as "blossoming time," also, figuratively, "prime of life, height of one's glory or prosperity, state of anything that may be likened to the flowering state of a plant." As "the best, the most excellent; the best of its class or kind; embodiment of an ideal," early 13c. (of persons, mid-13c. of things); for example flour of milk "cream" (early 14c.); especially "wheat meal after bran and other coarse elements have been removed, the best part of wheat" (mid-13c.). Modern spelling and full differentiation from flour (n.) is from late 14c.

In the "blossom of a plant" sense it ousted its Old English cognate blostm (see blossom (n.)). Also used from Middle English as a symbol of transitoriness (early 14c.); "a beautiful woman" (c. 1300); "virginity" (early 14c.). Flower-box is from 1818. Flower-arrangement is from 1873. Flower child "gentle hippie" is from 1967.

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flower-pot (n.)
also flowerpot, 1590s, from flower (n.) + pot (n.1).
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cornflower (n.)

"any flower or plant growing in grain fields" (typically the common bluebottle), 1570s, from corn (n.1) + flower (n.).

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florulent (adj.)
"flowery," 1590s, from Latin florentulus, from flor-, stem of flos "flower" (see flower (n.)).
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flowery (adj.)
mid-14c., from flower (n.) + -y (2). Figurative sense "richly embellished," in reference to language, is from c. 1600. Related: Floweriness.
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fleuret (n.)
"ornament in the form of a small flower," 1811, from French fleurette "small flower," diminutive of fleur "flower, blossom" (see flower (n.)). As a type of small sword from 1640s.
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sunflower (n.)
1560s, "heliotrope," from sun (n.) + flower (n.). In reference to the Helianthus (introduced to Europe 1510 from America by the Spaniards) it is attested from 1590s, so called from the appearance of the heads.
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fleuron (n.)
"flower-shaped ornament," late 14c., floroun, from Old French floron (Modern French fleuron), from flor "flower" (see flower (n.)). Spelling modified 17c. in English based on French.
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mayflower (n.)

"a flower that appears in May," c. 1600s; from May + flower (n.). Used of the hawthorn and locally for the lady's smock, the marsh marigold, and other plants that bloom in May. A popular ship name in early 17c.

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