Definition of flapper in English:



  • (in the 1920s) a fashionable young woman intent on enjoying herself and flouting conventional standards of behaviour.

    • ‘Symbolic of the new freedom were the pre-World War I bohemians of New York's Greenwich Village and the sexually precocious young women of the 1920s, the so-called flappers.’
    • ‘Leading this group was a gorgeous blonde flapper dressed in darling scarlet and smoking a cigarette carelessly.’
    • ‘I don't want Pat to be a genius, I want her to be a flapper, because flappers are brave and gay and beautiful.’
    • ‘In the late 1920s, the ‘moga,’ or ‘modern girl,’ took elements of style from American flappers as they created their own personae of assertive, public, working women.’
    • ‘It's flappers dancing the Charleston with abandon.’
    • ‘With lots of black and white, they revert to this year's trend of reflecting '50s screen sirens and '20s flappers.’
    • ‘Whether the goody-goody Gibson girl or the dancing flapper, the single woman finally had purchasing power.’
    • ‘The book contains fascinating chapters on young militants, flappers and bohemian aesthetes, and on street life.’
    • ‘Following the First World War, in the 1920s and early 1930s, the cocktail party flourished, with flappers and frivolity going hand in hand.’
    • ‘A flapper and a flirt, she was white, middle-class and Midwestern.’
    • ‘Considering this, it is not surprising that the dance's origins can be traced back to the roaring twenties - the time of the flappers and the first Miss America contest.’
    • ‘The so-called modern girl's agency was largely restricted to new choices of clothing, make-up, and hair style that created a package resembling the get-up of the American flapper.’
    • ‘Cocktail parties and distilled spirits became the rage - as glamorous as flappers, swing dancing, and jazz.’
    • ‘You then read other letters and you find out he's surrounded by bright young things, flappers.’
    • ‘The twenties have spawned an image of bathtub gin, speakeasies, flappers, and decadence: in short, The Jazz Age.’
    • ‘Was Ruth a modern woman, a young flapper, or a traditional housewife and mother?’
    • ‘Moreover, the flapper, independent and rebellious, was both a standardized image and an individualized one, as young women adopted a stance that made them both subjects of the gaze and objects of it.’
    • ‘I knew the last surviving daughter as well and she was a pistol, married eight times, a former flapper from the Twenties.’
    • ‘Upon entering, a charming flapper greets you and beckons you to see the 1920's show.’
    • ‘‘So,’ I asked, noticing the piano player, the flappers and the antique cars on the road outside, ‘Now that we're at least in our own century, what do we do, now?’’


Late 19th century (originally in the sense ‘teenage girl’): perhaps from the noun flap in the dialect sense ‘newly fledged wild duck or partridge’ (or ‘woman of loose character’).