flip·​per ˈfli-pər How to pronounce flipper (audio)
plural flippers
: a broad flat limb (as of a seal or cetacean) adapted for swimming
: a flat shoe (as of rubber or silicone) with the front expanded into a paddle that is used to aid movement through water (as in snorkeling or scuba diving)

called also fin, swim fin

: someone or something that flips or is used in flipping
spatulas and pancake flippers
pinball flippers
He worked as a burger flipper.
A flipper is a person who changes TV channels just to see what else is on.Springfield (Massachusetts) Morning Union
He also interviews house "flippers" who buy cheap property with an eye toward making some inexpensive improvements to spruce it up and then quickly "flipping" it, or reselling it at a value-added price for a tidy profit.James Prichard

Examples of flipper in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Handcrafted, the little critter responded to speech and touch by bleating—it was programmed with actual seal pup cries—closing its eyes, and flipping its tail and flippers. Kat McGowan, WIRED, 4 Jan. 2024 Disclosure of major repairs (AB 968) This law is mainly aimed at home flippers but could add a level of complication to some home sales. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Jan. 2024 The Edge is equipped with a G10 composite handle and a ball-bearing flipper system that deploys the knife with a flick of the finger. Kevin Brouillard, Travel + Leisure, 8 Jan. 2024 With a large head, four turtle-like flippers and a row of 130 massive, sharp teeth, pliosaurs were fierce predators with the ability to kill prey in a single bite. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 Dec. 2023 The striped dolphin, which has flippers that resemble thumbs, was spotted twice this summer in the Gulf of Corinth, Live Science reported. Bailey Richards, Peoplemag, 12 Dec. 2023 Downtown areas might rise in demand, and house flippers may come into competition with first-time buyers looking for fixer uppers. Sharon Greenthal, Better Homes & Gardens, 11 Dec. 2023 Honoring the 40 most powerful women in unscripted entertainment, the Bravo elite mingled with real estate flippers, dancers, judges, singers, survivors, amazing racers and those just looking for love. Meredith Woerner, Variety, 30 Nov. 2023 Many of those who came on Friday brought goggles and flippers to plumb the pool’s 18-foot depths, hoping for a glimpse of the invisible life below. David Montgomery, New York Times, 14 July 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1819, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of flipper was in 1819

Dictionary Entries Near flipper

Cite this Entry

“Flipper.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flipper. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


flip·​per ˈflip-ər How to pronounce flipper (audio)
: a broad flat limb (as of a seal or whale) used for swimming
: a flat rubber shoe with the front widened into a paddle for use in skin diving

More from Merriam-Webster on flipper

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