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[flip-flop] /ˈflɪpˌflɒp/
Informal. a sudden or unexpected reversal, as of direction, belief, attitude, or policy.
a backward somersault.
Also called flip-flop circuit. Electronics. an electronic circuit having two stable conditions, each one corresponding to one of two alternative input signals.
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.
the sound and motion of something flapping, as a wind-blown shutter; a banging to and fro.
any backless, usually open-toed flat shoe or slipper.
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.
(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.
with repeated sounds and motions, as of something flapping.
verb (used without object), flip-flopped, flip-flopping.
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.
to execute a backward somersault.
to flap; bang to and fro:
The door flip-flopped in the high wind.
Also, flip-flap
[flip-flap] /ˈflɪpˌflæp/ (Show IPA),
(for defs 2, 5, 9, 12), flipflop (for defs 6, 7).
Origin of flip-flop
1655-65 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for flip-flop
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The cowboys, gathered in a wide circle about the machine, looked on in anticipation of seeing the auto do a flip-flop.

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

    The Lost Princess of Oz L. Frank Baum
  • 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.

    Uncle Wiggily in Wonderland Howard R. Garis
  • Dan broke off and almost retched as his stomach turned a flip-flop to end all flip-flops.

    Shipwreck in the Sky Eando Binder
  • That fellow certainly turned a flip-flop, when he found out who we were.

British Dictionary definitions for flip-flop


a backward handspring
Also called bistable. an electronic device or circuit that can assume either of two stable states by the application of a suitable pulse
(informal, mainly US) a complete change of opinion, policy, etc
a repeated flapping or banging noise
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 (intransitive) -flops, -flopping, -flopped
(informal, mainly US) to make a complete change of opinion, policy, etc
to move with repeated flaps
with repeated flappings: to 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
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Word Origin and History for flip-flop

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
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Slang definitions & phrases for flip-flop



: flip-flop views and reluctance to confront the issues


A complete reversal of direction; about-face •The primary meaning is ''somersault'': Commodities have been doing flip-flops on the price ladder


: So Kennedy's flip-flopped again (1900+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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flip-flop in Technology

A digital logic circuit that can be in one of two states which it switches (or "toggles") between under control of its inputs. It can thus be considered as a one bit memory. Three types of flip-flop are common: the SR flip-flop, the JK flip-flop and the D-type flip-flop (or latch).
Early literature refers to the "Eccles-Jordan circuit" and the "Eccles-Jordan binary counter", using two vacuum tubes as the active (amplifying) elements for each bit of information storage. Later implementations using bipolar transistors could operate at up to 20 million state transitions per second as early as 1963.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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