flip·​pant ˈfli-pənt How to pronounce flippant (audio)
: lacking proper respect or seriousness
archaic : glib, talkative
flippantly adverb

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Does flippant Have a Positive or Negative Connotation?

Flippant is believed to come from flip, which, in turn, is a supposed imitation of the sound of something flipping. The earliest senses of the adjective are "nimble" and "limber." One can be flippant not only on one's feet but in speech—that is to say, their words flow easily. Such flippancy was considered a good thing at first; however, people who speak freely can sometimes seem too talkative, and even impertinent. The positive sense of flippant has slipped from use, but the "disrespectful" sense still flows.

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
Recent Examples on the Web The title offers up his flippant response to nonbelievers who’ve attempted to discredit him, both in the beginning of his career and now. Kenan Draughorne, Los Angeles Times, 16 Aug. 2023 The retired astronaut, who is also the twin brother of Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., scolded Musk for his flippant remark. Matt Lavietes, NBC News, 12 Dec. 2022 In its first season, the Prime Video series gave viewers a sweaty love triangle between Belly, Conrad, and Jeremiah— a potentially flippant endeavor made tangible and hearty by the backstory of Susannah’s secret struggle with cancer. Ct Jones, Rolling Stone, 14 July 2023 In a flippant twist on street vending, some graduates have set up stands to sell their academic knowledge, such as political science or psychology consulting. Stephanie Yang, Los Angeles Times, 27 June 2023 More cautious peers often regarded his speculations as flippant, if not outright reckless. Cody Cottier, Discover Magazine, 12 June 2023 Or maybe, at the risk of seeming too flippant, that comma should be a colon. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 27 Apr. 2023 Republicans accused Democrats of being too flippant in their dismissal of the idea of a Chinese threat. Laura Vozzella, Washington Post, 20 Feb. 2023 Yet the stark and flippant phrasing of the chyron struck many critics as crossing a line into outright falsehood. Jeremy Barr, Washington Post, 14 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'flippant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


probably from flip entry 1 — see flip entry 1

First Known Use

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of flippant was in 1599


Dictionary Entries Near flippant

Cite this Entry

“Flippant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flippant. Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


flip·​pant ˈflip-ənt How to pronounce flippant (audio)
: treating lightly something serious or worthy of respect
flippantly adverb

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