verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
Origin of flirt
Examples from the Web for flirt
The girls were so blasé about the men who came in to flirt with them—I mean genuinely blasé.
So too the many variations on its theme, each fueled by our limitless urge to flirt.
“You look like Dave Pirner,” she said to him, meaning the remark to sound like a small insult, but also a flirt.
Kurt responded with a flirt of his own: He grabbed Courtney and wrestled her to the ground.
She was also a buxom beauty, a kind of nineteenth century bombshell who loved to flirt.
That horrid de Fresnoy woman is trying to flirt with you, Parsnips.The Monster|Edgar Saltus
She was young, good-looking, and men were inclined to flirt with her, or rather to attempt it.Jennie Gerhardt|Theodore Dreiser
The ladies betake themselves to the lobbies to flirt, fan, and refresh themselves with ice 'sorbetes.'The Pearl of the Antilles, or An Artist in Cuba|Walter Goodman
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepp'd a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore.The Ontario Readers: The High School Reader, 1886|Ministry of Education
I'll take care not to flirt with him, and I wouldn't like him to think me not nice.Some Everyday Folk and Dawn|Miles Franklin
Word Origin for flirt
1550s, originally "to turn up one's nose, sneer at," then "to rap or flick, as with the fingers" (1560s). The noun is first attested 1540s, from the verb, with the meaning "stroke of wit." It's possible that the original word was imitative, along the lines of flip (v.), but there seems to be some influence from flit, such as in the flirt sense of "to move in short, quick flights," attested from 1580s.
Meanwhile flirt (n.) had come to mean "a pert young hussey" [Johnson] by 1560s, and Shakespeare has flirt-gill (i.e. Jill) "a woman of light or loose behavior," while flirtgig was a 17c. Yorkshire dialect word for "a giddy, flighty girl." All or any of these could have fed into the main modern verbal sense of "play at courtship" (1777), which also could have grown naturally from the earlier meaning "to flit inconstantly from object to object" (1570s), perhaps influenced by Old French fleureter "talk sweet nonsense," also "to touch a thing in passing," diminutive of fleur "flower" and metaphoric of bees skimming from flower to flower.
The noun meaning "person who flirts" is from 1732. The English word also is possibly related to East Frisian flirt "a flick or light blow," and flirtje "a giddy girl." French flirter "to flirt" is a 19c. borrowing from English. Related: Flirted; flirting.