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
Investors who piled into a popular long-term bond fund—the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF—when benchmark yields were flirting with 5% last month, had earned 8.8% by yesterday afternoon. WSJ, 15 Nov. 2023 Hollywood has flirted with adapting the comics, with its Star Wars and Star Trek tones, for over two decades. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Nov. 2023 Tessa Chung In early 2020, Chiuri, the creative director of Christian Dior, began flirting with the idea of showing her resort 2021 collection in Lecce, the province encompassing Casamassella. Sebastian Cabrices, Vogue, 14 Nov. 2023 Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker pair have been friends since 2015 and started dating rumors in early 2021 when they were spotted flirting on social media. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 4 Nov. 2023 Highs over the weekend will flirt with records as a strong cold front in the Midwest takes until Monday to finally arrive. David Streit, Washington Post, 26 Oct. 2023 Manchin has long flirted with leaving the Democratic Party, and his announcement appeared to leave the door open to a potential third-party or independent presidential run. Caitlin Yilek, CBS News, 9 Nov. 2023 Highs could flirt with the records for the date of 79 in Washington, and 78 at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall and Dulles airports. Dan Stillman, Washington Post, 8 Nov. 2023 Wolfe Herd has said the technology can be used to help people learn how to flirt via a chatbot, or to place users’ best-performing photos first. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, 6 Nov. 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 In the next week or so, before June 5 — the putative date at which the Treasury Department says the government runs out of money to pay its bills without a debt ceiling increase and thus flirts with an unprecedented default — Biden and McCarthy will hit the hustings to claim victory. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 28 May 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 29 Nov. 2023.

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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