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 formsflip·pan·cy, flip·pant·ness, nounflip·pant·ly, adverbun·flip·pant, adjectiveun·flip·pant·ly, adverb

Synonyms for flippant

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for flippant

Contemporary Examples of flippant

Historical Examples of flippant

  • 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.


    James Huneker

British Dictionary definitions for flippant



marked by inappropriate levity; frivolous or offhand
impertinent; saucy
obsolete talkative or nimble
Derived Formsflippancy, nounflippantly, adverb

Word Origin for flippant

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

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