Definition of flimsy in English:



  • 1Insubstantial and easily damaged.

    ‘a flimsy barrier’
    • ‘She was also loyal, and loveable, and very easy to talk to - once one got past the flimsy barriers she had up.’
    • ‘The door that covers the DVD drive area seems solid, but the mounting gear - particularly the hinge - is somewhat flimsy and jams quite easily.’
    • ‘Suddenly they all seem desperately flimsy for the job.’
    • ‘The majority are trying to reach the Canary Islands in flimsy boats.’
    • ‘Furthermore, the wild gales in summer could sometimes easily blow down the flimsy sheds.’
    • ‘They could have easily slipped past the flimsy barricade of starguards but the monsters merely threw themselves at them, incinerating and ripping in a frenzy.’
    • ‘He believes the new-style permits issued by the council are too flimsy and not sticky enough.’
    • ‘Like a huge pressure pushing against my skin, I could feel it trying to claw its way out of me, trying to push through the flimsy barrier of flesh my body provided.’
    • ‘Boasting four fire buttons, plus a fairly flimsy throttle control, this too has plenty of features.’
    • ‘The handbrake looks very out of place and somewhat flimsy compared to the rest of the interior.’
    • ‘The families had erected flimsy tents by stitching rags together.’
    • ‘Nothing could stop him, not even this flimsy barrier.’
    • ‘From the opposite end, through a flimsy barrier of water-damaged ceiling tile, he could hear the catch in his grandmother's chest as she breathed.’
    • ‘They are absolute zealots at trying to stop us from making backups of the media we purchase on flimsy, unprotected, easily damaged disks but have never once offered a remedy for the reason we need to make backups.’
    • ‘Maybe that's why they're there, to add structural strength because of the somewhat flimsy nature of aluminium.’
    • ‘A warped rationale twisted and struggled madly to keep back the torrent rising against the flimsy barrier of his lie.’
    • ‘And while the reporter and photographer were at the site, its lack of security was shown when a group of teenage boys easily slipped through the flimsy plastic fence to switch on a water pipe.’
    • ‘I pounded through the door, and it began to shake; it was rather flimsy.’
    • ‘Dawn woke, shivering on the cold, hard ground in the flimsy tent that the Shadows had erected.’
    • ‘The nail file on these clippers is about two inches long - if that - and incredibly flimsy.’
    insubstantial, slight, light, fragile, breakable, frail, shaky, unstable, wobbly, tottery, rickety, ramshackle, makeshift
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    1. 1.1 (of clothing) very light and thin.
      ‘the flimsy garment fell from her’
      • ‘There was a woman too, dressed in a flimsy robe, curled up in a chair just to the side of the big man.’
      • ‘Dr Wright, who is also a member of the UK Skin Cancer Working Party, said that a wearer who tended to burn easily could suffer sunburn after only three hours if wearing the flimsy shirt without extra suncream.’
      • ‘She is wearing a light, flimsy dress, very fey, and her face has a faraway expression.’
      • ‘I was half asleep, standing out in the freezing cold with nothing but a flimsy coat to defend my racking bones from the frigid cold.’
      • ‘The longer, flimsy skirt hanging out of a coat is a rather edgy trend right now.’
      • ‘Plus there was only a flimsy shower curtain between the two of us.’
      • ‘He literally trembled with excitement as he slid his right foot into the flimsy garment and pulled it up to his thigh.’
      • ‘Silvia (who makes an omelette to die for and has a nice line in flimsy clothing) works on the shop floor at the local underwear factory.’
      • ‘She looks pretty in a flimsy nightgown of a dress.’
      • ‘He had on a blue V-neck sweater over a loose T-shirt, a short, rather flimsy jacket, jeans, sneakers, and no hat.’
      • ‘Each song received great cheers - and a couple of pairs of flimsy underwear were thrown onstage before the night ended.’
      • ‘I unzipped the covering and inwardly groaned at the sight of the flimsy white dress.’
      • ‘Fayette was dressed in an even flimsier dress than usual that left nothing to the imagination.’
      • ‘Here Kristine sat in a flimsy dress, proudly carrying Cassie on her arm.’
      • ‘Men wearing short-sleeved shirts and girls in flimsy dresses and bare legs happily parade about in practically sub-zero temperatures.’
      • ‘Now that she was closer, Vigilante could see her better, and noticed that she wore a flimsy nightgown.’
      • ‘She is inside, her flimsy clothing soaked through.’
      • ‘He had barely braced himself with some of his wife's flimsy dresses and a vacuum cleaner before the entire foundation shook with the impact of the rocket against it.’
      • ‘As Mona she wears glittering, flimsy garments with sheer embroidered scarves, hennaed hair, nail varnish and lipstick.’
      • ‘Whatever you do, there's no denying that dresses are great to take on holiday - a light, flimsy slip can be easily scrunched into the corner of your case, making it a sloppy packer's dream.’
      thin, light, lightweight, fine, ultra-fine, diaphanous, sheer, delicate, insubstantial, floaty, filmy, silken, chiffony, gossamer, gossamer-thin, gossamer-like, gossamery, gauzy, gauzelike, cobwebby, feathery
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    2. 1.2 (of a pretext or account) weak and unconvincing.
      ‘a pretty flimsy excuse’
      • ‘Their only real purpose is to provide a flimsy excuse to make a recommendation.’
      • ‘What more evidence is required when the imagination conjures up the flimsiest of evidence?’
      • ‘Reality seemed flimsy; certainties were abandoned, and threats were constant.’
      • ‘At school, I cheated at the Rubik's Cube twice: once by removing the tiles under the flimsy pretext of ‘seeing how the joints worked’ and again, by reading the book.’
      • ‘Once again the exegetical basis is too flimsy to support the revisionist view.’
      • ‘But my flimsy excuses and confusing metaphors weren't enough to keep myself convinced.’
      • ‘We chose not to publish at the time as independent confirmatory evidence was too flimsy.’
      • ‘A couple of psychologists have claimed on the basis of very flimsy evidence that Australians are particularly " authoritarian".’
      • ‘Significant proportions of us die every year on the flimsiest of pretexts.’
      • ‘I'll also not forget the scene in Othello when Iago talks The Moor into believing something which flimsy evidence would easily prove to be false.’
      • ‘What is particularly fascinating, however, is that the whole story is built on such a very flimsy foundation.’
      • ‘The Herald denounced the verdict, saying it was the " flimsiest of evidence".’
      • ‘Any evidence by such an expert would have been based on the flimsiest foundation.’
      • ‘Obviously this rather flimsy argument by elimination carries very little weight by itself.’
      • ‘The evidence was so flimsy that the case should never have gone to trial.’
      • ‘But the case against him was so flimsy that he was released without charge six days later.’
      • ‘No, we can't let them squeak by with a flimsy excuse like that.’
      • ‘"What the police did was to detain on the flimsiest of pretexts."’
      • ‘Excuses seem flimsy, and even the best are still just excuses.’
      • ‘A handful had remained loyal to their oath as doctors or to their basic sense of decency and had refused to carry out instructions, citing valid excuses or flimsy pretexts.’
      weak, feeble, poor, inadequate, insufficient, thin, unsubstantial, unconvincing, implausible, unsatisfactory, paltry, trifling, trivial, shallow
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  • 1A document, especially a copy, made on very thin paper.

    ‘credit-card flimsies’
    • ‘Unfortunately, my classics skills suffered so much from my extracurricular activities in the pub that my product deteriorated to the point that I could not give my flimsies away.’
    • ‘Regardless of where the control finally ends up, however, the historic days of operators copying flimsies, lining switches, and setting signals locally, have ended.’
    1. 1.1mass noun Very thin paper.
      ‘sheets of yellow flimsy’


Early 18th century: probably from flimflam.