1595, from Northern English dialectal flippand (“prattling, babbling, glib”), present participle of flip (“to babble”), of North Germanic origin. Cognate with Icelandic fleipa (“to babble, prattle”), Swedish dialectal flepa (“to talk nonsense”). Alteration of -and suffix (a variant of the participial -ing) to -ant probably due to influence from words in -ant.
- (archaic) glib; speaking with ease and rapidity
- It becometh good men, in such cases, to be flippant and free in their speech.
- (chiefly dialectal) nimble; limber.
- Showing disrespect through a casual attitude, levity, and a lack of due seriousness; pert.
- a sort of flippant, vain discourse
- 1998, Sylvia Brownrigg, The Metaphysical Touch
- The conversations had grown more adult over the years—she was less flippant, at least.
- 2000, Anthony Howard and Jason Cowley, Decline and Fall, New Statesman, March 13, 2000
- In the mid-1950s we both wrote for the same weekly, where her contributions were a good deal more serious and less flippant than mine.
- 2004, Allen Carr, The Easy Way to Stop Smoking, page 147
- Our society treats smoking flippantly as a slightly distasteful habit that can injure your health. It is not. It is drug addiction.
- See also Thesaurus:cheeky
- flippant in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
- flippant in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.