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 Muslim viewers were quick to decry the platform’s flippant approach to the series’ religious focus and scoffed that the answer to the question was already made obvious in the series’ marketing materials. Joyce Chen, refinery29.com, "The Controversy Behind Netflix’s Messiah, Explained," 2 Jan. 2020 The band continues to earn acclaim for its powerhouse sound and flippant energy on stage, both of which will be in particular abundance alongside chatterbox opener Liam Gallagher of Oasis. Andrea Domanick, Los Angeles Times, "Best concerts in L.A. this week, Halloween edition: Spooky! Scary!," 23 Oct. 2019 What is the proper etiquette in this situation? I have been really bothered by their flippant response. Amy Dickinson, The Denver Post, "Ask Amy: Almost-broken crystal almost breaks up party," 9 Oct. 2019 Isabella posted a throwback photo and video of Olivia, one as kids and one of the once-flippant starlet dancing. Fox News, "Lori Loughlin's daughter Olivia Jade celebrates birthday amid college scandal," 30 Sep. 2019 None of this is to be flippant about the seriousness of the emissions scandal, both from an environmental and financial perspective. Marcus Ashworth | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "The SEC Isn’t Doing Volkswagen Investors Any Favors," 18 Mar. 2019 Those Kyrgios press conferences can be prickly, flippant, but often amusing affairs, too -- cringe-making for the traditionalists, box-office for others. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Larrikin or liability: Is Nick Kyrgios good for tennis?," 5 July 2019 While that's arguably a good thing, there's a fine line to walk between normalizing injectables and being too flippant about them. Sarah Wu, Glamour, "Your Ultimate Guide to Face Fillers," 16 Sep. 2019 The outrage over Spencer’s flippant comments wasn’t because of young George’s status. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "#boysdancetoo: While male dancers still face bullying, pros try to help," 28 Aug. 2019

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

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The first known use of flippant was in 1599

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Last Updated

4 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flippant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flippant. Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for flippant


How to pronounce flippant (audio)

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

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