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[fliv-er] /ˈflɪv ər/
Older Slang. an automobile, especially one that is small, inexpensive, and old.
Slang. something of unsatisfactory quality or inferior grade.
Origin of flivver
An Americanism dating back to 1905-10; origin uncertain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for flivver
Historical Examples
  • Peter had left his "flivver" up the road and his sudden entrance was a surprise.

    The Vagrant Duke George Gibbs
  • Mr. McNutt sends me out with a flivver to buy wool around the country.

    Torchy As A Pa Sewell Ford
  • This old can is now as obsolete as a 1920 flivver, and I'm going to make us a later model.

    Skylark Three Edward Elmer Smith
  • They got to the ranch ahead of the flivver by a scant margin.

    Rimrock Trail J. Allan Dunn
  • I drove my flivver down to Calvada and asked for the Doctor.

  • The flivver chugged on to the main entrance, and the girls alighted.

    The Orchard Secret

    Cleo Garis
  • "The foreman's flivver's out in front; he'll let us use it," a conductor cried.

    Black Star's Campaign Johnston McCulley
  • Some nerve; a flivver calling to a Cadillac to stop, I said.

    Roy Blakeley's Silver Fox Patrol

    Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • It must have been awful in that flivver, coming along here, Harry said.

    Roy Blakeley's Silver Fox Patrol

    Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • You've just heard what he has to say on that subject, so I seem to have landed on a 'flivver' all around.

    L. P. M. J. Stewart Barney
British Dictionary definitions for flivver


an old, cheap, or battered car
Word Origin
C20: of unknown origin
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 flivver

"cheap car," especially "Model-T Ford," 1910, of unknown origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for flivver



  1. A failure (1914+)
  2. A Model T Ford car (1914+)
  3. Any car, airplane, or other vehicle, esp a small or cheap one (1920s+)


To fail; flop: If the production flivvers, I'll need that thirty cents (1910+ Show business)

[origin unknown]

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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