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
Hogan flirted with challenging Trump for the presidential nomination but decided against it. Jeff Barker, Baltimore Sun, 12 Feb. 2024 Harden flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 11 assists and eight assists. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 5 Feb. 2024 The Fox host Jesse Watters even flirted with the speculation, floating the idea that Swift’s success was a psyop masterminded by the Defense Department. James Poniewozik, New York Times, 3 Feb. 2024 Charles Leclerc briefly flirted with challenging Verstappen at the start of the 2022 season, though both Ferrari drivers finished behind Hamilton in 2023 and Mercedes beat the Scuderia to second in the constructors’ race. Sam Joseph, CNN, 2 Feb. 2024 The only person worth flirting with is the person who’s already attracted to me. Merve Emre, The New York Review of Books, 30 Jan. 2024 Jason has another designer colleague, Lizzie (An-Li Bogan), who Aren met cute and flirted with in a coffee shop. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 20 Jan. 2024 Where Samantha once flirted with Sato (Shô Kasamatsu), the stoic Chihara-kai footsoldier is now assigned to handle her new club, which his organization is backing. Alison Herman, Variety, 8 Feb. 2024 The Kansas City area will flirt with a record later this week as temperatures are expected to climb into the upper 60s, according to the National Weather Service. Robert A. Cronkleton, Kansas City Star, 6 Feb. 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 See More

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 26 Feb. 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
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!