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

Definition of flippant

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

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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 Which is something Ford could have done by addressing Mamakwa's public inoculation beyond a flippant comment. Katherine Singh, refinery29.com, "Why Doug Ford’s Apology To Indigenous MPP Sol Mamakwa Completely Missed The Point," 17 Mar. 2021 But when asked about one of their own, Psaki went flippant. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "White House won't explain Biden's COVID-wartime death tolls comparison as fact-checkers cry foul," 12 Mar. 2021 Fans of the pop star are far from impressed with the show's writers for the flippant comment about Swift's past relationships — which have often been the butt of jokes over the years — and are making their feelings clear on social media about it. Ruth Kinane, EW.com, "Taylor Swift calls out Netflix's Ginny & Georgia for 'lazy, deeply sexist' joke about her past relationships," 1 Mar. 2021 A day later, a reporter offered her a chance to apologize for her flippant remark. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Biden White House risks cutting press honeymoon short with self-inflicted wounds," 4 Feb. 2021 Can a Super Bowl ad this year be funny without seeming flippant, for example? Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "'Walking the tight rope': Super Bowl advertisers try to strike right tone after tumultuous 2020," 3 Feb. 2021 This flippant distinction, which seemingly suggested that bisexuals could not be attracted to transgender and nonbinary people, led to an outcry online. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "“Big Mouth” Is Still Changing—For the Better," 21 Dec. 2020 Bishop related her own experience last year of looking for a Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid — and finding instead a flippant salesperson. Jennifer Bjorhus, Star Tribune, "Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to move forward on clean-car rule," 18 Dec. 2020 My mom died 16 days after your flippant remarks, and I am devastated. Lucy Kafanov, CNN, "A grieving family in Trump country is fighting to prevent more Covid-19 deaths," 11 Dec. 2020

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 2

History and Etymology for flippant

probably from flip entry 1 — see flip entry 1

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Time Traveler for flippant

Time Traveler

The first known use of flippant was in 1599

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Last Updated

30 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Flippant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flippant. Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on flippant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flippant

Nglish: Translation of flippant for Spanish Speakers

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