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verb (used without object), flit·ted, flit·ting.
  1. to move lightly and swiftly; fly, dart, or skim along: bees flitting from flower to flower.
  2. to flutter, as a bird.
  3. to pass quickly, as time: hours flitting by.
  4. Chiefly Scot. and North England.
    1. to depart or die.
    2. to change one's residence.
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verb (used with object), flit·ted, flit·ting.
  1. Chiefly Scot. to remove; transfer; oust or dispossess.
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  1. a light, swift movement; flutter.
  2. Scot. and North England. a change of residence; instance of moving to a new address.
  3. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a male homosexual.
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Origin of flit

1150–1200; Middle English flitten < Old Norse flytja to carry, convey, Swedish flytta. See fleet2
Related formsflit·ting·ly, adverb


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1. See fly1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for flitted

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But she flitted away, as she had done before from the knights.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • A smile of infinite irony, infinite sorrow, flitted and faded from her face.

    Monday or Tuesday

    Virginia Woolf

  • They flitted to and fro, scanning wide bands of the surface of Dara.

    Pariah Planet

    Murray Leinster

  • I exclaimed, and the thought of Roxalanne flitted through my mind.

  • Often across this preoccupation there flitted a thought of the Richlings.

    Dr. Sevier

    George W. Cable

British Dictionary definitions for flitted


verb flits, flitting or flitted (intr)
  1. to move along rapidly and lightly; skim or dart
  2. to fly rapidly and lightly; flutter
  3. to pass quickly; fleeta memory flitted into his mind
  4. Scot and Northern English dialect to move house
  5. British informal to depart hurriedly and stealthily in order to avoid obligations
  6. an informal word for elope
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  1. the act or an instance of flitting
  2. slang, mainly US a male homosexual
  3. British informal a hurried and stealthy departure in order to avoid obligations (esp in the phrase do a flit)
  4. See moonlight flit
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Derived Formsflitter, noun

Word Origin

C12: from Old Norse flytja to carry
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 flitted



c.1200, flutten "convey, move, take, carry away, go away," perhaps from Old Norse flytja "to remove, bring."

Theire desire ... is to goe to theire newe masters eyther on a Tewsday, or on a Thursday; for ... they say Munday flitte, Neaver sitte. [Henry Best, farming & account book, 1641]

Related: Flitted; flitting. As a noun, from 1835.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper