Definition of flirt in English:



  • 1no object Behave as though sexually attracted to someone, but playfully rather than with serious intentions.

    ‘she began to tease him, flirting with other men in front of him’
    • ‘Here are 11 warning signs of becoming over-stimulated and crossing the boundaries from flirting to overt sexuality on line.’
    • ‘‘Well you're obviously smart enough to manage that, you sound like you're doing better than great,’ she flirted playfully.’
    • ‘This personal interaction may range from flirting, dancing, and drinking to sexual intercourse.’
    • ‘To make matters worse, the last time he'd seen him, Cola had been flirting rather heavily with a muscular redhead.’
    • ‘Results of this study show that females' greatest reported motivation for going to discos is to meet new people rather than to pursue sexual opportunities or to flirt.’
    • ‘‘No tickling,’ he said, realizing a moment later that he was flirting with her; he hadn't even thought he knew how to flirt.’
    • ‘We walk up front and not only is he doing some serious flirting with this beautiful girl, but she is flirting back with him.’
    • ‘I happen to flirt when someone is flirting with me.’
    • ‘Anonymous messaging and chat rooms let you flirt to your heart's content without any embarrassment or getting tongue-tied.’
    • ‘During lunch or whenever Amy was with Alex, they flirted all the time and it was very frustrating to see the girl that was supposed to be ‘his’ flirt with someone else.’
    • ‘You're good at flirting and teasing, and can be a real sweet talker.’
    • ‘He tries to prove he can flirt well by flirting with the pizza girl, only to end up talking about gas and looking like an idiot because he actually doesn't know how to flirt?’
    • ‘I survived a breakup along the way and found Mary, my own true love, which led to columns on flirting and younger women and my experience with in-laws.’
    • ‘He flirts shamelessly and when he finally meets Katina, he doesn't necessarily flirt with her, but some of his quick-moving habits make it hard for him to really get close to her.’
    • ‘Ana leaned over and whispered, ‘He's flirting with you, he normally doesn't flirt.’’
    • ‘He is flirting with you - clumsily enough for you to write to me to ask what the hell he means, but flirting nonetheless.’
    • ‘He put his arm about her waist and drew her to him, attempting to kiss her neck but, for all her ability to flirt, Theresa was rather cold and did not share her body easily.’
    • ‘It broke my heart, she was flirting with him and he was flirting back.’
    • ‘Laura rolled her eyes not knowing whether he was serious or flirting.’
    • ‘So what's the harm if I flirt with someone and they don't flirt back?’
    trifle with, toy with, tease, lead on, philander with, dally with, make romantic advances to, court, woo, vamp
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1flirt with Experiment with or show a superficial interest in (an idea, activity, or movement) without committing oneself to it seriously.
      ‘a painter who had flirted briefly with Cubism’
      • ‘Johnson offers only grudging admiration for Cezanne, and he flirts with the idea that Picasso was a charlatan.’
      • ‘It seems daft to me that anyone who so much as flirts with the idea of a career in education would fail to remember what they know about how teenagers behave.’
      • ‘Too violent for kiddies, too unhip for teens and too puerile for everyone else, it flirts with every demographic and commits to none.’
      • ‘He says he flirted with the idea of running for president for one month.’
      • ‘A time when we flirted with ideas that repel us in our adulthood.’
      • ‘I keep flirting with the idea of setting a novel there, and may do it one of these days.’
      • ‘The movie flirts with the idea by introducing the threat of island natives who make human sacrifices, but then quickly drops it.’
      • ‘Other states will watch with interest at the impact in NSW and flirt with the idea of following suit.’
      • ‘The best-case scenario is when inflation is neither so high as to impede economic efficiency and growth nor so low that the nominal short-term interest rate routinely flirts with zero.’
      • ‘Though the title of this new exhibition flirts with the idea of schism, the truth is more banal.’
      • ‘Briefly flirting with the idea of managing a Guatemalan mine, he prefers death to exile, and walks in front of an express train.’
      • ‘Some Cabinet ministers have flirted with the idea of a ring-fenced or ‘hypothecated’ health tax.’
      • ‘By contrast, Marshall at least flirted with the idea of state ownership of land.’
      • ‘The pub rather reflects its Welling location cheap and effective but barely even flirts with the idea of sophistication.’
      • ‘Strickland flirts with many visual ideas, but, unexpectedly, his work as a whole is based in nature.’
      • ‘SP had flirted with the idea of simply running the engines backwards, but tender-first is no way to run a railroad.’
      • ‘He too, gets the credit for the most unintentionally funny scene of recent times when he solemnly confesses Gracie is his biggest achievement and flirts with the idea of having a daughter like her.’
      • ‘I've been flirting with the idea of moving towards Apple more and more.’
      • ‘Tredias flirted with the idea of seeking revenge against the elf king, but it didn't matter now.’
      • ‘You all have flirted with the idea of playing pro basketball in the offseason.’
      dabble in, toy with, trifle with, amuse oneself with, play with, entertain the idea of, entertain the possibility of, consider, give thought to, potter about with, potter around with, potter round with, tinker with, dip into, scratch the surface of
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2flirt with Deliberately expose oneself to (danger or difficulty)
      ‘the need of some individuals to flirt with death’
      • ‘This performance is not afraid to flirt with danger, stretching the boundaries of what is acceptable in drama and society to their outermost limits.’
      • ‘He liked to flirt with danger, and he wanted to get close to death in the hope that by doing so he might overcome his fear of it.’
      • ‘It tells the tale of speed fiends on motorbikes who constantly flirt with death and live life on the edge.’
      • ‘As Tina becomes more involved in Carole's professional life, Carole begins to enjoy flirting with danger.’
      • ‘They like to flirt with danger, inventing the gamuts they will have to run.’
      • ‘The Association of Pizza Delivery Drivers flirts with danger in 30 minutes or less.’
      • ‘The second builds up to the climatic and dramatic end where Martin flirts with danger and then realises that he's placed everything he holds dear on the line.’
      • ‘In Malay, he flirted with danger, enraging the local sultan by falling in love with his ward.’
      • ‘Dennis, a member of the most successful popular music group in American history, flirted with financial difficulty.’
      • ‘Besides, I have flirted with danger countless times and I still live to tell the tale.’
      • ‘We want to see golfers that flirt with danger, that manufacture amazing shots when they look completely out of it.’
      • ‘Yes, since November things have really started to pick up and they needed to because we were flirting with danger towards the bottom of the table.’
      • ‘I couldn't even start to imagine how much it had to hurt for her to be watching her son flirting with death.’
      • ‘It should have been a warning to the Jags, but instead they flirted with danger again on the restart and were fortunate when Novo nodded wide.’
      • ‘Perhaps one of the dangers that the show flirts with is that an emphasis on visual rhyming may cause divergent works to look perfectly complacent.’
      • ‘These acts, in which an individual may flirt with death, offer a sense of excitement.’
      • ‘He flirts with danger, walks the tightrope and sends the run-rate zooming with booming blows.’
      • ‘A tense-looking Henman, perhaps still dwelling on Friday's singles defeat, flirts with danger at 15-30 but finds his first serve at the crucial moment to escape.’
      • ‘Moments later, Glen Johnson flirts with danger when he tackles an opponent on the edge of the Chelsea penalty area.’
      • ‘That was one of the reasons why he was such a good editor: he flirted with danger all the time and wasn't one of those tedious executives who spends most of the day trying to mind his back.’
      dice with, court, risk, not be afraid of, treat frivolously, make light of
      View synonyms
  • 2with object (of a bird) wave or open and shut (its wings or tail) with a quick flicking motion.

    ‘a moorhen stepped out of the reeds, flirting its white tail’
    • ‘She kept expecting the elf-horse to object, but it only flirted its tail and stamped a time or two when Shara came too close.’
    • ‘The broad palms of his tail are flirted high in the air; then smiting the surface, the thunderous concussion resounds for miles.’
    • ‘Kymenos shrugged and turned back to grooming Sykeen, though in fact he got in only a few strokes with the brush before Sykeen danced sideways away from him, flirting his tail.’
    1. 2.1no object, with adverbial of direction Move quickly to and fro with a fluttering motion.
      ‘the lark was flirting around the site’
      • ‘Blackbirds flirt and do their mating flutter at the curb on Main Street.’
      • ‘Shrill and soft old Autumnal winds blow and we are tucked below the shallow soil where seeds spring up and wither quickly flirting madly.’


  • A person who habitually flirts.

    ‘Jim was an outrageous flirt’
    • ‘She has always been a flirt from the first day I met her and just because she was a little older, doesn't mean she has forgotten how much fun being a flirty tease can be.’
    • ‘It wasn't that she was a flirt, because she wasn't one, it was just that none of them ever seemed right for her.’
    • ‘She was exactly how he remembered her, how every man who grew up in the Glen remembered her: a flirt and a tease with a body to back up her confidence.’
    • ‘Yes, I'm still a flirt and a tease, but I only have one husband.’
    • ‘Libby was also one of the biggest flirts in the entire school.’
    • ‘Kyle had been an outrageous flirt ever since the boys had hit sixth grade.’
    • ‘And Jacob, both the youngest and the tallest, is also the family flirt.’
    • ‘His Franz was an incorrigible flirt, but not completely empty-headed or cold-hearted.’
    • ‘I would be intelligent, charming, sexy, a huge flirt, with a sense of humour but a down-to-earth guy in touch with his sensitive side.’
    • ‘You know, you were always a flirt and a tease in high school.’
    • ‘He rolled his eyes at the female flirt and followed Michelle inside.’
    • ‘This is what separates a good flirt from a great flirt: nothing will bond you more effectively than mirroring someone's behaviour.’
    • ‘The best flirts have a positive outlook on life and are happy with themselves.’
    • ‘Leon knew firsthand what a flirt and tease Barbie was, she fooled with all the men.’
    • ‘That said, the only other possibility - and this one's a bit of a bummer - is that he's no more than… just a flirt.’
    • ‘For the record, the Australians were voted the best kissers, best lovers and best flirts.’
    • ‘You are a fun flirt and an instant sweetheart, but our guess is you're becoming more selective about long-term love.’
    • ‘At first, we were just two flirts who saw each other once a week in a bowling league until one day he told me that his car was in the shop and asked if he could catch a ride with me.’
    • ‘He's a big flirt so I can't tell how he feels about me.’
    • ‘Usually when it comes to talking to boys, he is the biggest flirt.’
    tease, trifler, philanderer, coquette, heartbreaker
    View synonyms


Mid 16th century: apparently symbolic, the elements fl- and -irt both suggesting sudden movement; compare with flick and spurt. The original verb senses were ‘give someone a sharp blow’ and ‘sneer at’; the earliest noun senses were ‘joke, jibe’ and ‘flighty girl’ (defined by Dr Johnson as ‘a pert young hussey’), with a notion originally of cheeky behaviour, later of playfully amorous behaviour.