from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. One who indulges in light, playful chatter; a banterer; a quiz.
The French are by nature a kindly people, with this one proviso, that, though every Frenchman on earth is more or less a persifleur, you must never practise the art upon himself.
Wilde was much better at showing off than at revealing himself, and, as the comedy of showing off is much more delightful than the solemn vanity of it, he was naturally happiest as a wit and persifleur.
There were a dozen Albert de Chantonnays, fierce or tender, gay or sad, a poet or a soldier -- a light persifleur, who had passed through the mill, and had emerged hard and shining, or a young man of soul, capable of high ideals.
This comes from the French word for 'to banter lightly.'