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

Definition of flippant

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

Other Words from flippant

flippantly adverb

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 video then shows all the flippant ways younger employees sign emails to their older boss. Sheila Callaham, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 This moment is specifically written as a time of understanding and reassurance, not one of flippant amusement. Ayanna Prescod, Variety, 20 Apr. 2022 Either way, the opening half of the response is all over the map, too flippant by half and even hallucinating a first-person experience of prison. New York Times, 12 Apr. 2022 Interviews with New Jersey voters revealed that some Democrats’ breaks from their party last fall were neither flippant nor fleeting. Fox News, 11 Apr. 2022 The frustration boiled over with a flippant club toss. USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2022 Axiom itself has been more flippant about word usage in the past. Jackie Wattles, CNN, 9 Apr. 2022 Axiom itself has been more flippant about word usage in the past. Jackie Wattles, CNN, 8 Apr. 2022 Some on social media criticized Packer’s remark for being too flippant. Pamela Mcclintock, The Hollywood Reporter, 28 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of flippant was in 1599

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Last Updated

5 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Flippant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flippant. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for flippant


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

Nglish: Translation of flippant for Spanish Speakers


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