Definition of flippant in English:



  • Not showing a serious or respectful attitude.

    ‘a flippant remark’
    • ‘Millar is no stranger to the flippant remark, and he does not specify exactly what he might deliver.’
    • ‘For a minute, I saw a smirk rise to his lips, and I thought he'd make some flippant remark.’
    • ‘This flippant remark pinpoints an essential truth: Mae West was a woman who lived as if she were a man.’
    • ‘However, I do not wish to address all of contemporary arts with my flippant remarks.’
    • ‘Groucho Marx's flippant remark about the inability of any photograph to capture his inner beauty is profoundly insightful.’
    • ‘Shaidanna rolled her eyes, suddenly realizing where Galen had picked up his flippant attitude.’
    • ‘For some, his work is too dark to be humorous, for others it is too flippant to be serious.’
    • ‘Behind the flippant name hides a serious message about religious ignorance.’
    • ‘My boss was very supportive and saw the same flippant attitude I did when she spoke to them.’
    • ‘James Mason was not a man prone to wild hyperbole or flippant remarks.’
    • ‘Though it may seem flippant to say so, she's certainly damaged enough to be a star.’
    • ‘He was irritated by Rob's flippant comments and attitude and wondered why Rob continued to bait him.’
    • ‘Lyle believes there are effective ways to put across a serious message without being flippant.’
    • ‘Even Owen, usually with such a flippant attitude about everything, had raised his eyebrows.’
    • ‘Now I have to go and intimidate Mr Mills for a while as payback for his flippant remark.’
    • ‘When I'm with her, I feel like it's okay to be studious or stupid, serious or flippant.’
    • ‘Zach flailed against the cuffs, his rage escalating at her flippant attitude.’
    • ‘I could wear Armani suits and make flippant remarks in the House of Commons.’
    • ‘The latter two chapter titles are too flippant for the serious situations they describe.’
    • ‘In the end the flippant attitude to the lack of car parking will have disastrous consequences for businesses in Skipton.’
    frivolous, superficial, shallow, glib, thoughtless, carefree, irresponsible, insouciant, offhand
    disrespectful, irreverent, facetious, cheeky, pert, overfamiliar, impudent, impertinent
    View synonyms


Early 17th century: from flip + -ant, perhaps on the pattern of heraldic terms such as couchant and rampant. Early senses included ‘nimble’ and ‘talkative’, hence ‘playful’, giving rise to the current use ‘lacking seriousness’.