verb (used without object), tripped, trip·ping.

verb (used with object), tripped, trip·ping.


    lay a trip on, Slang. to inflict one's preoccupations or obsessions on (another person): Mother's been trying to lay a guilt trip on me about leaving home.
    trip the light fantastic, Facetious. to go dancing.

Origin of trip

1350–1400; 1960–65 for def 12; Middle English trippen to step lightly < Old French trip(p)er < Middle Dutch; compare early Dutch trippen, Dutch trippelen (frequentative with -el), akin to Old English treppan to tread
Related formsun·tripped, adjective

Synonyms for trip

1. excursion, tour, jaunt, junket. Trip, expedition, journey, pilgrimage, voyage are terms for a course of travel made to a particular place, usually for some specific purpose. Trip is the general word, indicating going any distance and returning, by walking or any means of locomotion, for either business or pleasure, and in either a hurried or a leisurely manner: a trip to Europe; a vacation trip; a bus trip. An expedition, made often by an organized company, is designed to accomplish a specific purpose: an archaeological expedition. Journey indicates a trip of considerable length, wholly or mainly by land, for business or pleasure or other reasons, and is now applied to travel that is more leisurely or more fatiguing than a trip; a return is not necessarily indicated: the long journey to Tibet. A pilgrimage is made as to a shrine, from motives of piety or veneration: a pilgrimage to Lourdes. A voyage is travel by water or air, usually for a long distance and for business or pleasure; if by water, leisure is indicated: a voyage around the world. 7. lapse, oversight. 14. bungle, blunder, err. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for trip the light fantastic



an outward and return journey, often for a specific purpose
any tour, journey, or voyage
a false step; stumble
any slip or blunder
a light step or tread
a manoeuvre or device to cause someone to trip
Also called: tripper
  1. any catch on a mechanism that acts as a switch
  2. (as modifier)trip button
a surge in the conditions of a chemical or other automatic process resulting in an instability
informal a hallucinogenic drug experience
informal any stimulating, profound, etc, experience

verb trips, tripping or tripped

(often foll by up, or when intr, by on or over) to stumble or cause to stumble
to make or cause to make a mistake or blunder
(tr often foll by up) to trap or catch in a mistake
(intr) to go on a short tour or journey
(intr) to move or tread lightly
(intr) informal to experience the effects of LSD or any other hallucinogenic drug
  1. to activate (a mechanical trip)
  2. trip a switchto switch electric power off by moving the switch armature to disconnect the supply
See also trip out
Derived Formstrippingly, adverb

Word Origin for trip

C14: from Old French triper to tread, of Germanic origin; related to Low German trippen to stamp, Middle Dutch trippen to walk trippingly, trepelen to trample
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 trip the light fantastic



late 14c. (implied in tripper), "tread or step lightly, skip, caper," from Old French tripper "strike with the feet" (12c.), from a Germanic source (cf. Middle Dutch trippen "to skip, trip, hop," Low German trippeln, Frisian tripje, Dutch trappen, Old English treppan "to tread, trample") related to trap.

The sense of "strike with the foot and cause to stumble" is first recorded early 15c. Meaning "to release" (a catch, lever, etc.) is recorded from 1897; trip-wire is attested from 1916. Related: Tripped; tripping.



"act or action of tripping," 1650s, from trip (v.); sense of "a short journey or voyage" is from 1690s, originally a nautical term, the connection is uncertain. The meaning "psychedelic drug experience" is first recorded 1959 as a noun; the verb in this sense is from 1966, from the noun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with trip the light fantastic

trip the light fantastic

Dance, as in Let's go out tonight and trip the light fantastic. This expression was originated by John Milton in L'Allegro (1632): “Come and trip it as ye go, On the light fantastick toe.” The idiom uses trip in the sense of “a light, tripping step,” and although fantastick was never the name of any particular dance, it survived and was given revived currency in James W. Blake's immensely popular song, The Sidewalks of New York (1894).


In addition to the idioms beginning with trip

  • triple threat
  • trip the light fantastic
  • trip up

also see:

  • bad trip
  • ego trip
  • round trip
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.