flibbertigibbet

noun flib·ber·ti·gib·bet \ ˌfli-bər-tē-ˈji-bət \
Updated on: 20 Apr 2018

Definition of flibbertigibbet

: 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

Recent Examples of flibbertigibbet from the Web

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.

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

flibbertigibbet Synonyms

Antonyms

sobersides;

Related Words

fool, goose, silly, simpleton;


Learn More about flibbertigibbet


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

good-natured ridicule

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

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!