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[flip-uh nt] /ˈflɪp ənt/
frivolously disrespectful, shallow, or lacking in seriousness; characterized by levity:
The audience was shocked by his flippant remarks about patriotism.
Chiefly Dialect. nimble, limber, or pliant.
Archaic. glib; voluble.
Origin of flippant
1595-1605; apparently flip1 + -ant
Related forms
flippancy, flippantness, noun
flippantly, adverb
unflippant, adjective
unflippantly, adverb
1. saucy, impertinent, impudent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for flippant
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She turned away instantly, with a flippant lift and drop of both hands.

    Alice Adams Booth Tarkington
  • It was a flippant, vulgar book, the outcome of a flippant, vulgar mind.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine
  • The captain was, in his opinion, altogether too flippant and jolly.

    Cap'n Warren's Wards Joseph C. Lincoln
  • "Then leave it to Him," was the flippant answer; and Joseph drained his glass.

    The Tavern Knight Rafael Sabatini
  • Every one laughed at his jokes, but to me they seemed superficial and flippant.

    Melomaniacs James Huneker
  • It never was safe, even in the quietest times, to be flippant with Crossan.

    The Red Hand of Ulster George A. Birmingham
  • Here is a subject which even the flippant cannot long ignore.

British Dictionary definitions for flippant


marked by inappropriate levity; frivolous or offhand
impertinent; saucy
(obsolete) talkative or nimble
Derived Forms
flippancy, noun
flippantly, adverb
Word Origin
C17: perhaps from 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 flippant

c.1600, "talkative;" 1670s, "displaying unbecoming levity," apparently an extended form of flip (v.). Shortened form flip is attested from 1847. Related: Flippantly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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