flibbertigibbet

play
noun flib·ber·ti·gib·bet \ˌfli-bər-tē-ˈji-bət\

Definition of flibbertigibbet

  1. :  a silly flighty person

flibbertigibbety

play \ˌfli-bər-tē-ˈji-bə-tē\ adjective

flibbertigibbet was our Word of the Day on 03/13/2009. Hear the podcast!

Examples of flibbertigibbet in a Sentence

  1. forced to endure a long flight with a flibbertigibbet as a seat companion

Did You Know?

Flibbertigibbet is one of many incarnations of the Middle English word flepergebet, meaning "gossip" or "chatterer." (Others include "flybbergybe," "flibber de' Jibb," and "flipperty-gibbet.") It is a word of onomatopoeic origin, created from sounds that were intended to represent meaningless chatter. Shakespeare apparently saw a devilish aspect to a gossipy chatterer; he used "flibbertigibbet" in King Lear as the name of a devil. This use never caught on, but the devilish connotation of the word reappeared over 200 years later when Sir Walter Scott used "Flibbertigibbet" as the nickname of an impish urchin in the novel Kenilworth. The impish meaning derived from Scott's character was short-lived and was laid to rest by the 19th-century's end, leaving us with only the "silly flighty person" meaning.

Origin and Etymology of flibbertigibbet

Middle English flepergebet


First Known Use: 15th century


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