flip·​pant | \ˈfli-pənt \

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

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 Our unspeakable treatment of migrant children and flippant disregard for their safety should invoke moral outrage. Jenn M. Jackson, Teen Vogue, "Separating Children From Parents is Shocking And Inhumane — It Is Also An American Tradition," 22 June 2018 That's a flippant question, but there's something underneath it. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Tesla Model S tops insurance chart, Autopilot in the news again," 31 May 2018 Getty Images On Friday, President Donald Trump gave an informal press conference to a boisterous crowd and one of his flippant remarks about a woman reporter, Weijia Jiang, was caught on camera. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Trump Called a Woman Reporter "So Obnoxious" for Literally Doing Her Job," 15 June 2018 Why did Lando feel so flippant about knocking off the Falcon’s radar dish in Return of the Jedi after Han specifically asked him not to? Dan Gvozden, The Hollywood Reporter, "74 'Star Wars' Questions 'Solo' Insisted on Answering," 1 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

25 Nov 2018

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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 \

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

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