\ ˈflip \
flipped; flipping

Definition of flip

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to toss so as to cause to turn over in the air flip a coin flip a pancake also : toss flip me the ball flip one end of the scarf over your shoulder
2a : to cause to turn and especially to turn over flipped the car flipping the pages of a book
b : to move with a small quick motion flip a switch
c : to turn (something) on or off with a switch flip on/off the lights
d : to change or move through (channels, stations, etc.) quickly flipping channels with the remote control
3 : to buy and usually renovate (real estate) so as to quickly resell at a higher price He's flipped three houses for a substantial profit.
4 : to cause or persuade (a witness) to cooperate in prosecuting a criminal case against an associate … wrote that the … probe seemed to have reached the stage where investigators are in the process of flipping witnesses.— Nancy LeTourneau

intransitive verb

1 : to make a twitching or flicking movement the fish flipped and flopped on the deck
2a : to turn or roll from one side to the other : turn over The crab had flipped onto its back. The car flipped over.
b : to do a somersault in the air : to do a flip He flipped off the diving board.
3a : to change from one state, position, subject, etc., to another The job market flipped from hot to cold. The commercial flipped back and forth between scenes of country life and city life.
b : to change or move through channels, pages, etc. He sat on the couch flipping through the channels. flip to another station flip through the pages of a magazine
c : to cooperate in the prosecution of a criminal case against an associate Before sentencing, two more members defected…. And, soon after receiving his 45-year sentence in May 1989, Leonetti flipped, too.— Marguerite Del Giudice

4 slang

a : to lose one's mind or composure often used with out The patient flipped out in manic behavior.She flipped out when she heard about her son's accident.
b : to become very enthusiastic
flip the script
: to achieve an outcome or adopt an approach that is opposite to or completely different from what has happened or been done previously Now, having won three of the last nine majors, Mickelson has flipped the script on Woods.— Alan Shipnuck … the chance to flip the script, to go from 0-6 with a chance to finish the second half of the year 5-1, is motivating Nebraska players this week.— Steve Batterson If you let your inner critic do all the talking, of course she's going to chip away at your self-esteem. Make a conscious choice to flip the script for the next week and see how dramatically it alters your outlook.— Petra Guglielmetti



Definition of flip (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a mixed drink usually consisting of a sweetened spiced liquor with beaten eggs
2 : an act or instance of flipping
3 : the motion used in flipping
4 : a somersault especially in the air
5 : a holder for a collectible coin made of vinyl or cardboard with a plastic window and often having a sleeve in which to place an identifying insert



Definition of flip (Entry 3 of 3)

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Synonyms & Antonyms for flip

Synonyms: Verb

leaf, riffle, skim, thumb

Synonyms: Adjective

cute, facetious, flippant, pert, smart, smart-aleck, smart-alecky, smart-ass, smart-assed, smarty-pants, wise, wiseass

Antonyms: Adjective

earnest, sincere

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Examples of flip in a Sentence


She was sitting in the waiting room, flipping the pages of a magazine. His car flipped over on the interstate.


the flip of a coin She turned on the lights with the flip of a switch.


made some flip comment about the marriage between the old man and the considerably younger woman
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In addition, while Pelosi has been able to flip some opponents in exchange for concrete concessions, there may be limits to that technique. Matthew Green, Vox, "Pelosi won her party’s vote to be speaker. But can she win the vote on the House floor?," 5 Dec. 2018 The best way to have a successful trip: Scan the racks instead of flipping through each item and only pull out the pieces that really stand out—go with your gut. Hannah Miller, Seventeen, "How to Pair Cool Sneakers with Your Favorite Holiday Party Outfits," 27 Nov. 2018 Every day, 400 million people open up Instagram and flip through Stories — which amps up the pressure on users and brands to make their content seem cool and spontaneous. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Viral game-show app HQ Trivia faces some existential questions," 5 Nov. 2018 Users will receive additional training to prevent any unnecessary inbound requests that can happen when deputies incessantly flip through channels at the same time. Martin Vassolo, miamiherald, "Flawed 911 system ‘absolutely’ affected response to Parkland shooting," 11 July 2018 That means no senator who wanted to vote against her would have to flip-flop on prior support. Jonathan Allen /, NBC News, "One of these women could be Trump's Supreme Court pick," 2 July 2018 If not, return it to the pan for an additional minute of basting, flipping halfway through. Nick Kindelsperger, charlotteobserver, "Can you cook a great steak indoors? Yes, if you learn this trick," 26 June 2018 There is another risk in flipping through players so quickly, though its effect is less easily quantifiable. Jon Tayler, SI.com, "How Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto Wheeled and Dealed His Way to First-Half Success," 22 June 2018 These switches would flip only when the cell detects all biomarkers for inflammation — a multiple-input AND gate, in logic terms. Eric Smalley, Discover Magazine, "Cellular Cyborgs: How Programmable DNA Strands Might Control Healing," 25 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the months before that note, Notre Dame flip-flopped on how to handle contraceptive coverage in its health plans. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "Notre Dame students sue school, Trump administration over birth control co-pay policy," 27 June 2018 For more than half a century, America's human space program has flip-flopped between two long-range goals: establishing a base on the moon or going deep and sending astronauts to Mars. NBC News, "NASA has a plan to let humans soar above the clouds on Venus," 5 June 2018 But Shin Tae-yong is seemingly flip-flopping between three and four at the back, something which could be exploited in Russia. SI.com, "2018 FIFA World Cup Team Preview: Analysing South Korea's Chances at the Tournament," 4 June 2018 Following the flip-flopping reports, the bride-to-be herself released a statement through Kensington Palace—her first time ever doing so. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Personally Confirms That Her Father Won't Be at the Royal Wedding," 17 May 2018 Many genes couldn’t (or maybe wouldn’t?) adapt their expression to a flip-flopped sleep schedule. Megha Satyanarayana, STAT, "Stubborn genes: New research looks at how our bodies respond (or don’t) to night shift work," 7 May 2018 GlenStar contends that Napolitano flip-flopped because its development would include affordable housing units too. Maya Dukmasova, Chicago Reader, "News / Housing Aldermen's absolute veto power over ward projects gets unlikely court challenge," 16 Apr. 2018 That decision could prove difficult, which in the end could be a good thing for Ohio State as long as the final decision is decisive and doesn't leave open the opportunity for flip-flopping when the games matter in September. Bill Landis, cleveland.com, "Joe Burrow's Ohio State spring game: He's ready to start for the Buckeyes, or anyone else," 14 Apr. 2018 One floor down, signs posted outside Gov. Matt Bevin's office appeared to take aim at the Kentucky Education Association, insinuating the union had flip-flopped on its demands for lawmakers. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky teachers are rallying at the Capitol in a fight for public ed. Follow what's happening live," 13 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The Gaines' real estate firm, Magnolia Realty, helps families buy, sell, and even flip homes in several big cities in Texas through a team of 100+ real estate agents. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Wish You Could Have Been Featured on a 'Fixer Upper' Episode? Here's the Next Best Thing," 12 June 2018 Trump on the campaign trail called the unemployment rate phony, so these claims are flip-flops. Salvador Rizzo, Washington Post, "Anatomy of a Trump rally: 76 percent of claims are false, misleading or lacking evidence," 10 July 2018 Additional elements from the campaign include throwback flip phones, a vintage pink convertible and flashy accessories. Lisa Lockwood | Wwd, latimes.com, "Paris Hilton codesigns collection with Boohoo.com," 11 June 2018 One under the cookline prep table next to a flip top cooler. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "What's that on your doughnut? Flies, rodents, roaches, poop shut down these restaurants," 14 May 2018 Virginia Democrats see flip opportunities in several House races in Virginia, with GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock at the top of the list because Clinton won the district by 10 points. Eliza Collins, USA TODAY, "What to expect for June 12th primary in Nevada, Maine, South Carolina, Virginia, North Dakota," 12 June 2018 In The Beer Olympics: Company Cross Functional Team Building Event, for example, each team plays a round robin of games (darts, beer pong, flip cup, giant Jenga, cornhole) and the team with most points wins and receives a prize. azcentral, "Top Companies to Work for in Arizona-Medium Companies," 7 June 2018 Each Monday in Didi’s class, the students make a weekend report that goes onto a flip chart. Vanessa Hua, San Francisco Chronicle, "Small talk for first-graders that’s based on real life," 30 May 2018 As some educators worry liberal arts education on college campuses is going the way of the flip cell phone, Emory University wants to ramp up its offerings in those fields. Eric Stirgus, ajc, "Emory to ramp up liberal arts education," 23 May 2018

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

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First Known Use of flip


1616, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1695, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1823, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for flip

Verb, Noun, and Adjective

probably imitative

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Statistics for flip

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flip

The first known use of flip was in 1616

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More Definitions for flip



English Language Learners Definition of flip

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to turn (something) over by throwing it up in the air with a quick movement

: to cause (something) to turn or turn over quickly

: to move (something) with a quick light movement



English Language Learners Definition of flip (Entry 2 of 3)

: the act of flipping something : a quick turn, toss, or movement

: an athletic movement in which someone jumps in the air and rolls forward or backward : a somersault in the air



English Language Learners Definition of flip (Entry 3 of 3)

: not serious


\ ˈflip \
flipped; flipping

Kids Definition of flip

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move or turn by or as if by tossing flip a coin flip a switch



Kids Definition of flip (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a quick turn, toss, or movement the flip of a coin
2 : a somersault in the air

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More from Merriam-Webster on flip

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flip

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flip

Spanish Central: Translation of flip

Nglish: Translation of flip for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flip for Arabic Speakers

Comments on flip

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means, resources, or money

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