adjective flip·pant \ ˈfli-pənt \
|Updated on: 8 Jul 2018

Definition of flippant

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



flippant was our Word of the Day on 09/12/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of flippant in a Sentence

  1. As far as he was concerned, we were an unforgivably flippant bunch. Louche. Our shared political stance … struck him as pathetically naive. —Mordecai RichlerGQNovember 1997
  2. … although she is neither solemn nor pontifical, she may be the least flippant advice columnist in the business. —Ray OlsonBooklist1 May 1991
  3. Despite its flippant name, the Greed Index has proven a remarkably prescient barometer of the market during the past 16 years. —Richard E. RustinWall Street Journal29 May 1984
  4. He made a flippant response to a serious question.

  5. his flippant comment that the poor save on taxes offended many people

Recent Examples of flippant from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of flippant

probably from 1flip — see 1flip

FLIPPANT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of flippant for English Language Learners

  • : lacking proper respect or seriousness

FLIPPANT Defined for Kids


adjective flip·pant \ ˈfli-pənt \

Definition of flippant for Students

: not respectful or serious
  • a flippant response



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up flippant? 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!


to beat or defeat soundly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Test Your Emoji Exceptionalism

  • test-your-emoji-exceptionalism-written-with-a-lot-of-emoji
  • What is this emoji intended to represent: 🤳
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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