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flip-flop

[flip-flop]
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noun
  1. Informal. a sudden or unexpected reversal, as of direction, belief, attitude, or policy.
  2. a backward somersault.
  3. Also called flip-flop circuit. Electronics. an electronic circuit having two stable conditions, each one corresponding to one of two alternative input signals.
  4. any of several similar devices having two alternative states, the change of state being caused by some input signal or by some change of input.
  5. the sound and motion of something flapping, as a wind-blown shutter; a banging to and fro.
  6. any backless, usually open-toed flat shoe or slipper.
  7. a flat, backless rubber sandal, usually secured on the foot by a thong between the first two toes, as for use at a beach, swimming pool, etc.Compare thong, zori.
  8. (in advertising) a display or presentation, usually on an easel, consisting of a series of pages hinged at the top and flipped over in sequence.
adverb
  1. with repeated sounds and motions, as of something flapping.
verb (used without object), flip-flopped, flip-flop·ping.
  1. Informal. to make a sudden or unexpected reversal, as of direction, belief, attitude, or policy: The opposition claimed that the president had flip-flopped on certain issues.
  2. to execute a backward somersault.
  3. to flap; bang to and fro: The door flip-flopped in the high wind.
Also flip-flap [flip-flap] /ˈflɪpˌflæp/ (for defs 2, 5, 9, 12), flip·flop (for defs 6, 7).

Origin of flip-flop

First recorded in 1655–65
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for flip-flop

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • That fellow certainly turned a flip-flop, when he found out who we were.

  • The flip-flop of the fish sounded distinctly in that quiet place.

    Poor Man's Rock

    Bertrand W. Sinclair

  • "Nothing," she said, making a flip-flop into the thistles and dancing among them without feeling their sharp points.

  • Dan broke off and almost retched as his stomach turned a flip-flop to end all flip-flops.

  • At first he couldn't stand up on his head at all, just turning over in a sort of flip-flop every time he tried.


British Dictionary definitions for flip-flop

flip-flop

noun
  1. a backward handspring
  2. Also called: bistable an electronic device or circuit that can assume either of two stable states by the application of a suitable pulse
  3. informal, mainly US a complete change of opinion, policy, etc
  4. a repeated flapping or banging noise
  5. Also called (US, Canadian, Austral, and NZ): thong a rubber-soled sandal attached to the foot by a thong between the big toe and the next toe
verb -flops, -flopping or -flopped (intr)
  1. informal, mainly US to make a complete change of opinion, policy, etc
  2. to move with repeated flaps
adverb
  1. with repeated flappingsto go flip-flop

Word Origin

C16: reduplication of flip
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for flip-flop

n.

also flip flop, "thong sandal," by 1972, imitative of the sound of walking in them (flip-flap had been used in various echoic senses, mostly echoic, since 1520s); sense of "complete reversal of direction" dates from 1900.

Flip-flaps, a peculiar rollicking dance indulged in by costermongers, better described as the double shuffle; originally a kind of somersault. [Hotten's Slang Dictionary, 1864]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper