1 of 2


flirted; flirting; flirts

intransitive verb

: to move erratically : flit
butterflies flirting among the flowers
: to behave amorously without serious intent
He flirts with every attractive woman he meets.
: to show superficial or casual interest or liking
flirted with the idea
also : experiment
a novelist flirting with poetry
: to come close to reaching or experiencing something
used with with
flirting with disaster

transitive verb

: flick
They flirt water at each other's faces.
: to move in a jerky manner
a bird flirting its tail
flirtation noun
flirter noun
flirty adjective


2 of 2


: an act or instance of flirting
: a person who flirts
Choose the Right Synonym for flirt

trifle, toy, dally, flirt, coquet mean to deal with or act toward without serious purpose.

trifle may imply playfulness, unconcern, indulgent contempt.

to trifle with a lover's feelings

toy implies acting without full attention or serious exertion of one's powers.

a political novice toying with great issues

dally suggests indulging in thoughts or plans merely as an amusement.

dallying with the idea of building a boat someday

flirt implies an interest or attention that soon passes to another object.

flirted with one fashionable ism after another

coquet implies attracting interest or admiration without serious intention.

companies that coquet with environmentalism solely for public relations

Examples of flirt in a Sentence

Verb They were flirting all night. the servers at that restaurant flirt with all the customers Noun he's just a harmless flirt, so don't take him seriously
Recent Examples on the Web
Global oil prices are flirting with $92 a barrel amid worries about a wider war in the Middle East. Matt Egan, CNN, 8 Apr. 2024 While reminiscing on working (and flirting) with legendary songstresses who forayed into the acting world like Madonna and Whitney Houston, host Clay Cane’s recent realization that Esposito is in fact mixed-race, not Afro Latino as many seem to believe, came up. Rivea Ruff, Essence, 2 Apr. 2024 Clark flirted with a triple-double, adding 7 rebounds and 12 assists to her unreal 41 points, including nine 3-pointers. Trisha Garcia-Easto, Sacramento Bee, 2 Apr. 2024 Before Lore and Rodriguez entered the picture, Taylor had flirted with selling multiple times only to pull the club off the market. Dave Campbell, Quartz, 28 Mar. 2024 In recent years, the team has flirted with relegation and struggled financially off the pitch. David Hellier, Fortune, 23 Mar. 2024 The AfD still flirts with a Dexit from the EU and wants to immediately halt weapons deliveries to Ukraine. Joseph De Weck, The Atlantic, 20 Mar. 2024 Their campaigns and affiliated PACs had cash totals ranging from $9.8 million for Manchin, who has flirted with a presidential run this year, to $282,000 for Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., who is retiring at 77 after four terms in the Senate. Ronald J. Hansen, The Arizona Republic, 27 Mar. 2024 Those same partisan dynamics are among the reasons the Biden team has remained confident that the parts of his base who have flirted with Mr. Trump — Black, Latino and young voters — will eventually return to the fold. Maggie Haberman, New York Times, 26 Mar. 2024
Despite a fragmented narrative and a couple of interesting characters, very little in Culprits feels all that modern and nothing so much as flirts with abstraction. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Dec. 2023 Getting the images with the right tone and emotion, and somehow creating this black-and-white fable that references other movies, but is a stand-alone perception of that sort of darkness that flirts between the genres of the vampire tale and the political movie. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Aug. 2023 The set-up flirts with potential broader explorations of gender, identity, colonialism and more, but the series keeps its focus on Mizu’s personal journey, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Los Angeles Times Staff, Los Angeles Times, 3 Nov. 2023 News of its troubles adds to greater concerns over China’s property sector, which have come to the fore in recent weeks as Country Garden, the nation’s largest homebuilder last year, flirts with the possibility of default. Michelle Toh, CNN, 15 Sep. 2023 Albarrán does some kind of air split, dances and flirts with the crowd. Isabela Raygoza, Billboard, 25 July 2023 The use of heavy dialect, meant to distinguish her from the others, flirts with offensiveness. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, 27 July 2023 There are the times when a 41-minute rainless rain delay pushes back first pitch, when one team jumps out to a 10-0 lead as its starting pitcher flirts with a perfect game, when that same team nearly blows the lead. Journal Sentinel, 1 July 2023 But Lincoln, Nebraska, has had more than a dozen days at 110 degrees or higher, and sometimes flirts with temperatures near 120 degrees. Bill Finch, al, 19 June 2023

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

Word History


Verb and Noun

origin unknown

First Known Use


1580, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


circa 1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of flirt was in 1580

Dictionary Entries Near flirt

Cite this Entry

“Flirt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to show a liking for someone of the opposite sex just for fun
: toy entry 2
flirted with the idea
flirtation noun
flirtatiousness noun


2 of 2 noun
: an act or instance of flirting
: a person who flirts a lot

More from Merriam-Webster on flirt

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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