flip·​pant | \ ˈfli-pənt How to pronounce flippant (audio) \

Definition of flippant

1 archaic : glib, talkative
2 : lacking proper respect or seriousness

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Other Words from flippant

flippantly adverb

Does flippant Have a Positive or Negative Connotation?

Flippant did something of a flip-flop shortly after it appeared in English in the late 16th century. The word was probably created from the verb flip, which in turn may have originated as an imitation of the sound of something flipping. The earliest senses of the adjective were "nimble" and "limber." One could be flippant not only on one's feet, but also in speech—that is, someone flippant might have a capacity for easy, flowing speech. Such flippancy was considered a good thing at first. But people who speak freely and easily can sometimes seem too talkative, and even impertinent. By the end of the 18th century, the positive sense of flippant had slipped from use, and the "disrespectful" sense had taken its place.

Examples of flippant in a Sentence

As far as he was concerned, we were an unforgivably flippant bunch. Louche. Our shared political stance … struck him as pathetically naive. — Mordecai Richler, GQ, November 1997 … although she is neither solemn nor pontifical, she may be the least flippant advice columnist in the business. — Ray Olson, Booklist, 1 May 1991 Despite its flippant name, the Greed Index has proven a remarkably prescient barometer of the market during the past 16 years. — Richard E. Rustin, Wall Street Journal, 29 May 1984 He made a flippant response to a serious question. his flippant comment that the poor save on taxes offended many people
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Recent Examples on the Web

With four fashion shows and several sneaker drops, Rihanna and company championed a flippant, hifalutin kind of cool that was more about looking awesome than feeling awesome in one’s skin. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Rihanna’s Reportedly Launching a Luxury Fashion Brand—What Will It Look Like?," 18 Jan. 2019 This is not the only time Graham has been flippant and dismissive toward Ford and other accusers in the Kavanaugh case. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Graham is repeatedly, glibly dismissing Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations.," 27 Sep. 2018 And yet some critics have already pounced on the premise of the show, suggesting that the very concept is flippant and insensitive. Daniel Arkin /, NBC News, "New game show 'Paid Off' offers chance to eliminate student loan debt," 10 July 2018 On the Russian Foreign Ministry’s verified Twitter account, the posts carried a characteristically flippant and sarcastic tone. Matthew Bodner, Washington Post, "Russia demands access to British investigation into nerve agent attack," 13 Mar. 2018 Adam Goldman says this was a serious, not a flippant remark. Fox News, "Media's Kavanaugh spectacle," 24 Sep. 2018 Most of my 20s were spent acting flippant toward little ones, showing no signs of mercy. Zoe Wilder, Good Housekeeping, "Why I Couldn't Care Less About Having Kids," 15 June 2015 Klein was flippant in some of his initial responses to those critical on social media, although by midmorning Tuesday the tweet was deleted. Kirk Kenney, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Padres unhappy after tweet from host on new radio station stirs outrage for suicide insensitivity," 28 Mar. 2018 Drug use is flippant and rampant, the music is big and gaudy, and none of the shots were actually filmed on the island or in its clubs. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Netflix's 'Ibiza' Director Has Never Been to Ibiza," 26 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flippant.' 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 flippant

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for flippant

probably from flip entry 1 — see flip entry 1

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Statistics for flippant

Last Updated

1 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for flippant

The first known use of flippant was in 1599

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More Definitions for flippant



English Language Learners Definition of flippant

: lacking proper respect or seriousness


flip·​pant | \ ˈfli-pənt How to pronounce flippant (audio) \

Kids Definition of flippant

: not respectful or serious a flippant response

Other Words from flippant

flippantly adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on flippant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flippant

Spanish Central: Translation of flippant

Nglish: Translation of flippant for Spanish Speakers

Comments on flippant

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


an act or instance of returning to life

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