Our stereotype of the ‘Roaring Twenties’ is cocaine, nightclubs, and flapper girls.
This brings us to the flapper, the suffragette, and, finally, that über-American icon: the screen siren.
The flapper, he saw, was patting his hand at the table's edge.
In less than fifty hours that case will be as empty as a flapper's skull.
Yet this suspicion slept when he was with the flapper alone.
The flapper dashed into her letter with a sort of incoherent squeal.
He found he could strangely not be an upstart another moment in the presence of that flapper.
In English there is flapper, in French there is ingnue, and in German there is backfisch.
The wife isn't all there, she does her hair like a flapper and gushes extremely.
The flapper is released from the strangle hold that is throttling the rest of us.
"forward young woman," 1921 slang, from flap (v.), but the exact connection is disputed. Perhaps from flapper "young wild-duck or partridge" (1747), with reference to flapping wings while learning to fly, of which many late 19c. examples are listed in Wright's "English Dialect Dictionary" (1900), including one that defines it as "A young partridge unable to fly. Applied in joke to a girl of the bread-and-butter age."
But other suggested sources are late 19c. northern English dialectal use for "teen-age girl" (on notion of one with the hair not yet put up), or an earlier meaning "prostitute" (1889), which is perhaps from dialectal flap "young woman of loose character" (1610s). Any or all of these might have converged in the 1920s sense. Wright also has flappy, of persons, "wild, unsteady, flighty," with the note that it was also "Applied to a person's character, as 'a flappy lass,'" and further on he lists flappy sket (n.) "an immoral woman."
In Britain the word took on political tones in reference to the debate over voting rights.
"Flapper" is the popular press catch-word for an adult woman worker, aged twenty-one to thirty, when it is a question of giving her the vote under the same conditions as men of the same age. ["Punch," Nov. 30, 1927]
: the flapper era/ flat flapper chest
[origin uncertain; perhaps from the idea of an unfledged bird flapping its wings]