5 Useful Flower Expressions in English

Did you know that flowers appear in many popular English expressions? In this post, we'll introduce the ones that native English speakers use most often in everyday conversation.

1. Flowery (adj.)

"Flowery" used to describe things that were covered in or decorated with flowers - like the shirt below.

Nowadays, the word "floral" is used to talk about flower patterns, while "flowery" is usually used to describe writing that is too fancy or complicated.

  • Don't use such flowery language! Just say what you want to say using simple words.
  • Shakespeare's writing is flowery by modern-day standards.

2. Late-Bloomer (n.)

When a flower opens up, it "blooms": e.g. "The flowers in our garden are blooming." Some flowers bloom in spring, while others bloom later in the year. For example, the type of flower pictured below is called "autumn joy" and it blooms in autumn.

Autumn joy flowers in full bloom

In the same way, someone who is a "late bloomer" grows up, becomes successful, or does something later than other people their age.

  • I was a late bloomer. I only started getting taller in my teens.
  • Most figure skaters start competing as children, but Sara is a late bloomer who started in her teens.

3. Blossom (n., v.)

"Blossoms" refer to flowers on trees and bushes, especially those that produce fruit. For example, there are cherry blossoms in the picture below. We call them "cherry blossoms" – not "cherry flowers" because they are flowers on a fruit tree.

cherry blossoms close up

"Blossom" also has a verb form: e.g. "Our apple tree is blossoming." As a verb, it can be used to describe that something is developing well.

  • Rock and roll blossomed in the 1950s.
  • His career blossomed after he changed jobs.

4. Budding (adj.)

A "bud" is "a small growth on a plant that develops into a leaf or flower." You can see some buds on the branch below.

buds on a branch

We can also describe people and things as "budding" if they're just starting to develop and seem promising.

  • Jon is a budding journalist. At the age of 15, he's writing for the local newspaper.
  • Justin Bieber's fans are sad about his budding romance with a model.

5. Nip in the Bud (idiom)

"Nipping something in the bud" literally means to cut off a bud before it becomes a flower.

a rosebud being cut

If you "nip" a problem "in the bud," you take action early to prevent the problem from becoming worse.

  • My daughter has started smoking and I want to nip that in the bud.
  • Because the cancer was detected at an early stage, doctors were able to nip it in the bud.

Want to Practice Using These Expressions?

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