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1. The best example or greatest representative of a group. Margaret was long considered the flower of her graduating class.
2. The best state or prime condition of something. It was in the flower of my youth that I knew I wanted to be a great writer.
3. slang The vagina, especially the labia majora and the labia minora.
4. slang An effeminate, weak, ineffectual, or cowardly man or boy. Don't be such a flower, Jimmy, stand up for yourself and fight him!
5. A term of endearment, often toward a girl or woman. Primarily heard in UK, Ireland. Ah, my little flower! Come here and give your auntie a kiss! Here you are, me auld flower, two tickets to the show, as promised!

flower of the flock

The best person or thing in a group. Your cupcakes are just the flower of the flock—there is no better item at the bake sale. She's the best we've got, the flower of the flock, so you should absolutely put her on this case.
See also: flock, flower, of

April showers bring May flowers

Poor, often rainy weather in April can prove beneficial to blooming plantlife in May. A: "Ugh, will it ever stop raining?" B: "April showers bring may flowers, at least."
See also: bring, flower, may, shower

the flower of (something)

The finest, most vital, or most exemplary part of something. Though many worry the legislation will hamper trade with foreign countries, I'm hopeful that it will help nurture and cultivate the flower of local industries. The community has been struggling to come to terms with the death of the three boys, all struck down in the flower of youth.
See also: flower, of

hearts and flowers

A phrase used to describe excessive sentimentality. Ugh, but the dialogue in those books is all hearts and flowers though.
See also: and, flower, heart

April showers bring May flowers.

Prov. Although rain in April is annoying, it starts the flowers growing. Child: I hate all this rain. Why does it have to rain? Mother: April showers bring May flowers. Although it was a dreary, rainy day, we felt cheerful, since April showers bring May flowers.
See also: bring, flower, may, shower

the flower of —

the finest individuals out of a number of people or things.
Middle and early modern English did not recognize the modern distinction in spelling and sense between flower and flour , and the earliest instances of this expression relate to the sense that in modern English would be spelt flour , referring to the finest part of the wheat.
1991 Pat Robertson New World Order This vainglorious conqueror wasted the flower of French youth on his own personal dreams of empire.
See also: flower, of

hearts and flowers

used in allusion to extreme sentimentality.
See also: and, flower, heart

the flower of something

(literary) the finest or best part of something: The people of the village will never forget the war and their young men, killed in the flower of youth.
See also: flower, of, something

hearts and flowers

n. sentimentality. I didn’t care for the hearts and flowers part.
See also: and, flower, heart
References in periodicals archive ?
Flowering depends on mineral balance around the roots.
Fruit trees such as plums that are flowering now could experience a smaller crop than usual due to spoilage of their blooms.
Scales, recognizable by their army-helmet appearance, thrive mostly in the shade and attach themselves to plants such as flowering maple (abutilon) where air circulation is restricted.
The western redbud is a full sun tree but its cousin, the eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis), also flowering in magenta, requires some shade.
The eastern redbud also has a white flowering variety (Cercis canadensis alba) and a fascinating purple-leafed variety known as ``Forest Pansy.
They are not brilliant flowering subjects from a distance, but in sidewalk and entry planters where can be appreciated at close range.
They also can be planted among other flowering perennials; just don't let them tower over shorter plants like soldiers.
Flowering out of season is typically a response to stress.
Abutilon or flowering maple is another shrub you should consider.
Floribundas can be deployed in sunny locations as alternatives to India hawthorn, euryops daisy and other medium-size flowering shrubs.