“Dumbledore!” he called heartily as he walked up the slope. “How are you, my dear fellow, how are you?”

Blooming, thank you, Professor Karkaroff,” Dumbledore replied.

I've looked it up and found this definition:

informal Brit (intensifier): a blooming genius; blooming painful.

But it doesn't seem to fit for this context. What does "blooming" truly mean in this context?

3 Answers 3


'Blooming' is a mild expletive that is commonly used in the United Kingdom and some other Commonwealth countries. However, as in the case of the two examples that you provided as part of your definition, 'blooming', when used as a mild expletive, is not followed by a comma. Its use is widely accepted in informal conversation, but should be used with discretion in more polite society and should rarely, if ever, be used in formal writing. The definition that you provided used this sense of the word.

'Blooming' in the sense used by Dumbledore, means 'in good health'. It is commonly used to describe women when the are pregnant. In this case 'Blooming,...' is an abbreviation for 'I am blooming,...', so it is rightly followed by a comma. For me, this is an unusual adjective to use to describe a male, although I would not say that using it to do so is incorrect. Most men would normally have responded by saying something like, 'I am well,...', or perhaps just, 'Fine,...'.


The use of the word "blooming" here is probably in line with the second definition listed in the Merriam-Webster dictionary for the word "bloom":

Image of dictionary text

It lists two subdefinitions:

  • a state or time of beauty, freshness, and vigor
  • a state or time of high development or achievement

And it gives an example:

  • a career in full bloom

All of these would be a sensible interpretation of Dumbledore's response to Karkaroff. Though Dumbledore is quite old, he is still fresh and vigorous, and he is still achieving.


It means "I'm doing just fine and dandy" or "Couldn't be better".

  • I didn't find this definition in dictionaries. Is it a common or formal reply to "how are you"?
    – dan
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 12:36
  • It is a friendly informal greeting. You don't hear it in the US.
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 12:49
  • @dan See the defn in the following link to Merriam-Webster ([merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blooming]). Tᴚoɯɐuo, in the context in which it is used in the supplied sentence, this usage would not be commonly heard in the UK either.
    – James
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 12:57
  • @James: books.google.com/…
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 13:30
  • Perhaps it is something used by older generations which has fallen out of fashion.
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 15:29

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