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Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Marked by disrespectful levity or casualness; pert.
  • adj. Archaic Talkative; voluble.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. glib.
  • adj. nimble; limber.
  • adj. Lacking respect or seriousness, showing levity; pert.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of smooth, fluent, and rapid speech; speaking with ease and rapidity; having a voluble tongue; talkative.
  • adj. Speaking fluently and confidently, without knowledge or consideration; empty; trifling; inconsiderate; pert; petulant.
  • n. A flippant person.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Lively and fluent in speech; speaking freely; talkative; communicative.
  • Voluble and confident, without due knowledge or consideration; talkative and forward; impertinent; disrespectfully smart in speech or conduct.
  • Of a light and trifling quality; shallow; pert; disrespectful.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. showing inappropriate levity

Etymologies

Probably from flip.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
1595, from Northern English dialectal flippand ("prattling, babbling, glib"), present participle of flip ("to babble"), of North Germanic origin. Cognate with Icelandic fleipa ("to babble, prattle"), Swedish dialectal flepa ("to talk nonsense"). Alteration of -and suffix (a variant of the participial -ing) to -ant probably due to influence of words in -ant. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • If she is right, I can only suppose that Miss Pettigrew in using the word flippant meant to support the authority of her subordinates and to snub Lalage for attempting to rebel against time-honoured tradition.

    Lalage's Lovers

  • * Flipe -- One who is "flippant" -- of which word it is the substantive, and a good one too.

    The Ned M'Keown Stories Traits And Stories Of The Irish Peasantry, The Works of William Carleton, Volume Three

  • There are levels to him that rise and fall as his emotions do, yet underneath the flippant is a deep guy with a good heart.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • They were near enough now to hear the voices of those ashore, gay voices calling flippant greetings.

    The House Without a Key

  • Readers of Taine will recall his flippant Gaelic comment on Tennyson's conventional but cold words of lament.

    Modern English Books of Power

  • Vidmar was asked whether he was "too nice" and not "ruthless" enough towards his players, to which he offered what he has since described as a flippant response.

    Latest News - Yahoo!7 News

  • I believe that here Mephistopheles represents especially that element in human nature which is perhaps the meanest and most disgusting of all, namely flippant and vulgar irreverence, and although we may not agree with John Wesley's definition of man as 'half brute, half devil,' most of us will probably allow that a certain part of our nature (that part which Mephistopheles seems to represent) is capable of an irreverence and a vulgarity of which the devil himself might almost be ashamed.

    The Faust-Legend and Goethe's 'Faust'

  • I am somewhat familiar with Prof. Schindler's work as an accomplished theologian and his articles are far from 'flippant' but on the contrary very measured and reasonable.

    Dr. Janet Smith replies to Dr. Schindler, defends Christopher West

  • If Obama is so 'flippant' where is the thread on Hillary being shown to be a facile liar?

    Election Central Debate Roundup

  • "Kleefield characterizes Obama's opening statement as 'flippant'"

    Election Central Debate Roundup

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