Definition of flimflam in English:



  • 1Nonsensical or insincere talk.

    ‘I suppose that you suspect me of pseudointellectual flimflam’
    • ‘His parents are putting his little sister to bed with the usual Christmas Eve flimflam about Santa not coming to awake children.’
    • ‘Midway through this month, a Wall Street Journal headline captured the flimflam spirit that infuses so much of what passes for mass communications these days: ‘Despite Slump, Students Flock to Ad Schools.’’
    • ‘The grand-sounding phrase about freedom being a ‘long-distance race’ is just another piece of flimflam.’
    • ‘Here in Norway we have our fair share of flimflam.’
    • ‘No flimflam, just straight down to business on the Middle East.’
    • ‘Therefore, thanks to this budgetary flimflam, that has been going on for some time, one part of the government can't even certify what the right numbers are.’
    • ‘Stripping away all the flimflam, I thought I'd pick just six highlight vehicles that made their debut in Detroit - products I believe will make a major impression on the marketplace, though sometimes for different reasons.’
    • ‘The most longstanding, and perhaps easiest, criticism of these fantasies is that they are unreal - mere flimflam or tinsel, designed to distract, and so dupe, the purchaser of the fantasy.’
    • ‘They engaged in financial flimflam on an even larger scale in pushing through its record tax cut for the wealthy.’
    • ‘His career rose on a chic, combustible mix of obtuseness and literary flimflam.’
    • ‘It won't be long before you'll see commercials and ads for ‘miracle’ fuel boosters and other such flimflam promising to help you save fuel and money.’
    • ‘Instead, we get the flimflam of the weasel words that are scattered through this legislation about environmental sustainability and economic benefits.’
    • ‘‘We want footie, not flimflam,’ screams one headline.’
    • ‘Forget all the flimflam about whether there are sufficient sexual services in Christchurch.’
    • ‘But this word does not apply to them, even if they are guilty of the kind of flimflam that would send common hucksters to prison.’
    • ‘All they need do is drop me an e-mail every time an under-sub-deputy-director of flimflam convenes a background briefing.’
    • ‘And why are they publishing such obvious flimflam?’
    • ‘Book jackets are known for their hyperbole and general flimflam.’
    • ‘As the interviewer made clear in the interview, the number is itself the product of a little numerical flimflam.’
    • ‘Having said that, it's good to see your newspaper lighten up a bit with the occasional flimflam such as this.’
    1. 1.1A confidence game.
      ‘flimflams perpetrated against us by our elected officials’
      • ‘Is he a flimflam artist who talked about reducing government while actually expanding it?’
      • ‘Before science took over the healing arts and focused physicians' attention on biological causes of disease, mystics and alchemists and flimflam artists alike offered potions and powders to the ailing.’
      • ‘Let's start with the fact that none of the flimflam men behind the high-level financial swindles will have to do any time behind bars.’
      • ‘If not, it's farewell to this flimflam fellow and his faux fortune.’
      • ‘Ratliff quietly casts shame upon the walking dead of Trinity by allowing for gray area and trusting that his audience is keen enough to know a flimflam when it sees one.’
      • ‘The trailer is also a nice, atmospheric flimflam, selling the film's terror while, surprisingly, avoiding all its tedium.’
      • ‘They are warned that, eventually, the Court will recommend that the District Attorney open up a new file to investigate this obvious financial flimflam.’
      • ‘The only justification for this bipartisan legislative flimflam is that a prescription-drug benefit needs a certain number of holes to come in at a mandated 10-year cost of $400 billion.’


[WITH OBJECT]informal
  • Swindle (someone) with a confidence game.

    ‘the tribe was flimflammed out of its land’
    • ‘If you haven't been flimflammed into seeing this one yet, don't bother.’
    • ‘And I'm far from the only one who has been flimflammed by articulate, accomplished candidates who turned out to be psychotic, fascist, or just plain useless even before the ink was dry on their personnel forms.’
    • ‘The most disturbing lesson is that it is not too difficult to flimflam the public on the most consequential matter there is.’
    • ‘The yellow metal couldn't be bribed, flattered, seduced, or flimflammed.’
    • ‘This time, she accused him of flimflamming the country.’
    • ‘But the only thing these people got for their effort - and their money - was flimflammed.’


Mid 16th century: symbolic reduplication.