Definition of flirtation in English:



  • 1[mass noun] Behaviour that demonstrates a playful sexual attraction to someone.

    ‘Fabia was in no mood for his light-hearted flirtation’
    • ‘Much Ado About Nothing looks at courtship, flirtation, practical joking and deceptions in the setting of a leisurely country house party.’
    • ‘Capricorns have little instinctive knowledge of how to play the dating game and are too earnest with their emotions to respond to light-hearted flirtation with carefree abandon.’
    • ‘There is always a flirtation, a real sexual current.’
    • ‘Out loud, she tried for lighthearted flirtation.’
    • ‘Teasing and light flirtation played a large role in their friendship, but neither wanted anything beyond that.’
    • ‘The interaction is just superb, there's a touch of flirtation in it that's beautifully handled, and they're so alike.’
    • ‘He turned out to be a film producer in town to promote his new movie and we had the most wonderful conversation about its prospects and the ups and downs of the creative life. Had I been younger, flirtation might have been on the menu.’
    • ‘The playful flirtation vanished from the dark woman's face in a flash and she straightened suddenly, firing a steel - cold glance my way.’
    • ‘Honest, open communication about flirtation, sexuality and attraction are in my eyes key to a healthy relationship.’
    • ‘And I was half-considering-maybe-but-let's-face-it-no-way-on-Earth talking to her and trying to get some kind of flirtation going.’
    • ‘Although they appeared to be hamming it up for the camera, there was definitely a frisson of flirtation.’
    • ‘Some of us have become so worried about causing offence or sending the wrong signals that we are in danger of losing our natural talent for playful, harmless flirtation.’
    • ‘She's already been submitted to Teddy's playful flirtation.’
    • ‘The novel is Barnes's first foray into the genre after a long flirtation with flash fiction and the longer short story.’
    • ‘Delphine has been married, has been through the mill of coy flirtation and courtship, spectacular marriage, adultery, and now is really keen on seeing to it that others learn from her experiences.’
    • ‘The gesture was playful enough to be part of the throw-away flirtation that was Jerry's stock and trade.’
    • ‘I spot him near a door to what looks like the kitchen, chatting with a woman somewhere near my age who laughs at something he's said and gives him a playful thwack on the arm that has flirtation written all over it.’
    coquetry, teasing, trifling, toying, dalliance, philandering, romantic advances
    chat-up, come-on
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    1. 1.1[count noun]A short or casual relationship.
      ‘she had had plenty of flirtations—now she had fallen in love’
      • ‘Eventually, Paul and the nanny begin a flirtation that evolves into an affair.’
      • ‘But these flirtations are removed from actual on-going working relationships.’
      • ‘Beneath the colonnade, although urged on by a small band of string-players, the debonair couples are too involved in their flirtations and gossip to join the leaders of the dance.’
      • ‘At sixteen, Gwenifer was worldly and knowledgeable about all things, especially flirtations and relationships between men and women.’
      • ‘This sex-free, friendship marriage will solve all of her problems and give Patrick somewhere safe to go back to after his flirtations and affairs.’
      • ‘For a long time, what does happen seems almost aimless: scenic walks, music, casual flirtations.’
      • ‘In the cafe in Vienna, the women reminisce about their flirtations with the men's swimming and water polo teams also making the trip.’
      • ‘It has the world's most famous beaches, the world's most desirable bodies, and inspires the world's most outrageous flirtations.’
      • ‘How many drunken flirtations have you had with complete strangers that you normally would be too nervous/discerning to approach when sober?’
      • ‘A friendship later became a stormy relationship that has survived several breakups, flirtations with other partners and even the occasional fistfight.’
      • ‘Anna was in a very good mood and, when I questioned her on it, she told me that she had met Martin, a graduate student whom she had previously met and had a brief innocent flirtation with while she was seeing Bill.’
      • ‘Set in a bar, this is a series of flirtations, tiffs, relationships that make out or don't, full of vigorous, jazzy, skittish dances - though there are sags in interest.’
      • ‘Much Ado About Nothing portrays the return from war of Don Pedro and his men and the subsequent courtships, flirtations, practical joking and witty conversations.’
      • ‘The friend says, ‘I kind of felt that they just wanted not to hear more about Arnold and his women or his flirtations.’’
      • ‘In a story like way, these paintings display the process of love, ‘that moves from initial flirtations, to the ecstasies of physical love consummation, then to the anxieties of jealousy and rejection’.’
      • ‘Women and men everywhere have been writing to me about their infidelities, about all kinds of affairs - emotional affairs, physical affairs, flirtations, etc.’
      • ‘There were skirmishes, flirtations and drunken fumblings all the way up the east coast, but never the right person or the right time.’
      • ‘What we essentially get, therefore, is a compendium of snapshots; domestic frustrations, meaningful glances, subtle slights, and not-so-subtle flirtations.’
      • ‘It enables virtual flirtations, seductions, affairs - without the responsibilities that attend their actual physical realisation.’
      • ‘Passions for golf, parties and flirtations are all he willingly owns up to.’
      relationship, affair, romance, liaison, affair of the heart, intrigue, fling, amour, involvement, amorous entanglement, romantic entanglement, entanglement
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2A short period of casual experimentation with or interest in a particular idea or activity.
      ‘his brief flirtation with the avant-garde in the 1920s’
      • ‘After a brief flirtation with the idea of hiring a small crane to transport his books, he hauled both them and himself all the way up to dorm 96.’
      • ‘Heartbreaking though it was to prove my parents right yet again in their decision not to buy me my own skates as my flirtation with the ice would be a passing affair, I turned my attention to a nice dry, warm, indoor sport - basketball.’
      • ‘At least, though, I learnt my lesson during my brief flirtation with this dangerous game.’
      • ‘Network Ten's brief flirtation with wrestling matches on Saturday night prime time may have been short lived, but despite this, WWE games sell particularly well in Australia.’
      • ‘But her flirtation with hats was far from over and several years later a friend introduced her to the then Laura Ashley hat designer Jane Smith, who taught her how to make feather head pieces.’
      • ‘A ravishing collage, although it was not an ideal illustration of his brief flirtation with Surrealist practice.’
      • ‘In all that time, following an all-too brief flirtation with the big time, they employed a total of 12 managers to try and spark a revival in fortunes.’
      • ‘I spent my lunch hour talking to co-workers about my brief flirtation with joining a convent and as a result, got absolutely no studying done today.’
      • ‘I am at a point where I have to decide if I want to do something serious with technology or continue to waste my time with the casual flirtation.’
      • ‘Barring that brief flirtation with laxness during the second half, Hibs were efficiency personified.’
      • ‘The thick-cut slices of duck breast were described as char-grilled, but it can only have been the most fleeting flirtation with the grill.’
      • ‘The next morning after a brief flirtation with the idea of going for a swim, we set ourselves free from shore again and continued up the river.’
      • ‘The brief flirtation with shares of a few years ago has been forgotten, except by those unfortunate believers who missed out on the chance to get into the housing market when a basic home was still affordable.’
      • ‘Even the most prudent club in the division, found the European experience far from rewarding, as bonus payments to players cost more than was recouped from their brief flirtation with the cup.’
      • ‘My only flirtation with blonde has been a sprinkling of highlights, unless you count a one night stand with a mane of white curls which purported to be a Charlie's Angels wig but looked more like one of Dolly Parton's rejects.’
      • ‘In a recent column I even described my brief flirtation with the skin trade.’
      • ‘After a brief flirtation with the national interest, the aristocracy is back to putting dynasty before duty.’
      • ‘He is old enough to have felt the disillusion of lost causes such as the Spanish Civil War and the left's brief flirtation with Communism.’
      • ‘Worse, the way they are playing, it looks as though a flirtation with relegation may well be turning into a long-term relationship.’
      • ‘It was just one of a number of female celebrity flirtations with nudity that captivated a global audience last year and confirmed an enduring fact of life on the web.’