flibbertigibbet

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

Definition of flibbertigibbet 

: a silly flighty person

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from flibbertigibbet

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for flibbertigibbet

Synonyms

birdbrain, cuckoo, nitwit, scatterbrain

Antonyms

sobersides

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.

Examples of flibbertigibbet in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

Instead of acting cool and sophisticated our narrator prattled like a flibbertigibbet. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction Chronicle: A Moonshine-Lit Kentucky Noir," 6 Apr. 2018 Warning: The book has my three-year-old calling her grandmother a flibbertigibbet. Megan Gambino, Smithsonian, "The Ten Best Children’s Books of 2017," 18 Dec. 2017 And never mind that its mother is a flibbertigibbet who has no business having a baby. Matt Giles, Longreads, "The Genius of the Playboy Interview," 29 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flibbertigibbet.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of flibbertigibbet

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for flibbertigibbet

Middle English flepergebet

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about flibbertigibbet

Share flibbertigibbet

Listen to Our Podcast about flibbertigibbet

Dictionary Entries near flibbertigibbet

fley

fleysome

flg

flibbertigibbet

flibustier

flic

flicflac

Statistics for flibbertigibbet

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flibbertigibbet

The first known use of flibbertigibbet was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

More from Merriam-Webster on flibbertigibbet

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flibbertigibbet

Comments on flibbertigibbet

What made you want to look up flibbertigibbet? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to teach someone the beliefs of a group

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!