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90s Slang You Should Know


[pur-suh-flahzh, pair-] /ˈpɜr səˌflɑʒ, ˈpɛər-/
light, bantering talk or writing.
a frivolous or flippant style of treating a subject.
Origin of persiflage
1750-60; < French, derivative of persifler to banter, equivalent to per- per- + siffler to whistle, hiss < Late Latin sifilāre, for Latin sībilāre; see sibilant, -age
1. banter, badinage, jesting. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for persiflage
Historical Examples
  • He possesses the logic of the first, the persiflage of the second, and some of the sublimity of the third.

  • She was tall, beautiful, lively, gracious and learned in persiflage.

    The Four Million

    O. Henry
  • His Excellency, therefore, was thoroughly annoyed, and Castrillon's persiflage fell heavily upon his ears.

    Robert Orange John Oliver Hobbes
  • No one spoke for a moment, and even von Brning had no persiflage ready.

    The Riddle of the Sands Erskine Childers
  • He was content to laugh, and let the hour go past in such flim-flams of criticism and persiflage.

    The Bow of Orange Ribbon Amelia E. Barr
  • She looked at him through his persiflage wistfully, searchingly.

    The Coast of Chance Esther Chamberlain
  • Mrs. Spaulding enlightened me on the hotel piazza, after luncheon, when, as a sequence to this persiflage I brought up my friend.

  • No matter how happy you should be, I should always want you to keep that tone of persiflage.

    Indian Summer William D. Howells
  • The attitude and persiflage under such depressing conditions did not fail to impress our guards.

  • Florida listened to his persiflage with an air of sad distraction.

    A Foregone Conclusion William Dean Howells
British Dictionary definitions for persiflage


light frivolous conversation, style, or treatment; friendly teasing
Word Origin
C18: via French, from persifler to tease, from per- (intensive) + siffler to whistle, from Latin sībilāre to whistle
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 persiflage

1757, from French persiflage, from persifler "to banter" (18c.), from Latin per- "through" (see per) + French siffler "to whistle, hiss," from collateral form of Latin sibilare "to hiss," possibly of imitative origin. Said to have been introduced in English by Chesterfield.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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