with repeated sounds and motions, as of something flapping.

verb (used without object), flip-flopped, flip-flop·ping.

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for flip-flops

Contemporary Examples of flip-flops

Historical Examples of flip-flops

  • I had a headache; my breath was short, and upon the least exertion my heart did flip-flops.

    Abroad at Home

    Julian Street

  • "Here, this is the way to begin," and he did some flip-flops slow and easy-like.

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

  • She lay back in the weak sun with her eyes closed behind her shades, her toes wiggling in her flip-flops.

    Little Brother

    Cory Doctorow

  • You know we call those girls who are always changing quarters the Flip-Flops.

    Jane Allen: Center

    Edith Bancroft

British Dictionary definitions for flip-flops



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 -flops, -flopping or -flopped (intr)

informal, mainly US to make a complete change of opinion, policy, etc
to move with repeated flaps


with repeated flappingsto go flip-flop

Word Origin for flip-flop

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-flops



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