In 1908, Henry Ford changed the world with the Model T, the first affordable automobile. English speakers quickly coined an array of colorful terms for the Model T and the other relatively inexpensive cars that followed it. No one is sure why cheap cars came to be called "flivvers," but we do know that in the early 1900s that colorful term was also used as a slang verb meaning "to fail," as in "If this film flivvers, I'll be in trouble." In Flappers 2 Rappers: American Youth Slang, author Tom Dalzell lists "flivver" (which made its print debut in 1910, just two years after the Model T hit the streets) among a number of terms applied to "the humble Ford." Others included "bone crusher," "bouncing Betty," "Henry's go-cart," "puddle jumper," "Spirit of Detroit," and "Tin Lizzie."
Examples of flivver in a Sentence
Recent Examples on the WebIn the background are two flivvers, which brought them there over bouncy roads.
Frederick N. Rasmussen, baltimoresun.com, 30 Aug. 2019 Leader of the campaign is a white man, the county health officer, a former Georgia farm boy who drove a flivver through fields of mud, 36 miles a day to medical school.
Olivia B. Waxman, Time, 25 July 2017
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flivver.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.