Definition of flimsy in English:



  • 1Comparatively light and insubstantial; easily damaged.

    ‘voyagers who crossed the sea in flimsy boats’
    • ‘The majority are trying to reach the Canary Islands in flimsy boats.’
    • ‘She was also loyal, and loveable, and very easy to talk to - once one got past the flimsy barriers she had up.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Maybe that's why they're there, to add structural strength because of the somewhat flimsy nature of aluminium.’
    • ‘I pounded through the door, and it began to shake; it was rather flimsy.’
    • ‘A warped rationale twisted and struggled madly to keep back the torrent rising against the flimsy barrier of his lie.’
    • ‘The families had erected flimsy tents by stitching rags together.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The handbrake looks very out of place and somewhat flimsy compared to the rest of the interior.’
    • ‘The nail file on these clippers is about two inches long - if that - and incredibly flimsy.’
    • ‘Suddenly they all seem desperately flimsy for the job.’
    • ‘He believes the new-style permits issued by the council are too flimsy and not sticky enough.’
    • ‘Dawn woke, shivering on the cold, hard ground in the flimsy tent that the Shadows had erected.’
    • ‘Boasting four fire buttons, plus a fairly flimsy throttle control, this too has plenty of features.’
    • ‘Furthermore, the wild gales in summer could sometimes easily blow down the flimsy sheds.’
    • ‘Nothing could stop him, not even this flimsy barrier.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The door that covers the DVD drive area seems solid, but the mounting gear - particularly the hinge - is somewhat flimsy and jams quite easily.’
    insubstantial, slight, light, fragile, breakable, frail, shaky, unstable, wobbly, tottery, rickety, ramshackle, makeshift
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    1. 1.1 (of clothing) light and thin.
      ‘I wore flimsy clothes and needed warming’
      • ‘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 looks pretty in a flimsy nightgown of a dress.’
      • ‘I unzipped the covering and inwardly groaned at the sight of the flimsy white dress.’
      • ‘He literally trembled with excitement as he slid his right foot into the flimsy garment and pulled it up to his thigh.’
      • ‘Here Kristine sat in a flimsy dress, proudly carrying Cassie on her arm.’
      • ‘As Mona she wears glittering, flimsy garments with sheer embroidered scarves, hennaed hair, nail varnish and lipstick.’
      • ‘Each song received great cheers - and a couple of pairs of flimsy underwear were thrown onstage before the night ended.’
      • ‘She is wearing a light, flimsy dress, very fey, and her face has a faraway expression.’
      • ‘Now that she was closer, Vigilante could see her better, and noticed that she wore a flimsy nightgown.’
      • ‘There was a woman too, dressed in a flimsy robe, curled up in a chair just to the side of the big man.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Men wearing short-sleeved shirts and girls in flimsy dresses and bare legs happily parade about in practically sub-zero temperatures.’
      • ‘Fayette was dressed in an even flimsier dress than usual that left nothing to the imagination.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The longer, flimsy skirt hanging out of a coat is a rather edgy trend right now.’
      • ‘She is inside, her flimsy clothing soaked through.’
      • ‘He had on a blue V-neck sweater over a loose T-shirt, a short, rather flimsy jacket, jeans, sneakers, and no hat.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Plus there was only a flimsy shower curtain between the two of us.’
      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’
      • ‘We chose not to publish at the time as independent confirmatory evidence was too flimsy.’
      • ‘Significant proportions of us die every year on the flimsiest of pretexts.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Excuses seem flimsy, and even the best are still just excuses.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Any evidence by such an expert would have been based on the flimsiest foundation.’
      • ‘The evidence was so flimsy that the case should never have gone to trial.’
      • ‘No, we can't let them squeak by with a flimsy excuse like that.’
      • ‘Their only real purpose is to provide a flimsy excuse to make a recommendation.’
      • ‘Obviously this rather flimsy argument by elimination carries very little weight by itself.’
      • ‘"What the police did was to detain on the flimsiest of pretexts."’
      • ‘But my flimsy excuses and confusing metaphors weren't enough to keep myself convinced.’
      • ‘But the case against him was so flimsy that he was released without charge six days later.’
      • ‘Once again the exegetical basis is too flimsy to support the revisionist view.’
      • ‘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".’
      • ‘A couple of psychologists have claimed on the basis of very flimsy evidence that Australians are particularly " authoritarian".’
      • ‘What more evidence is required when the imagination conjures up the flimsiest of evidence?’
      • ‘Reality seemed flimsy; certainties were abandoned, and threats were constant.’
      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’
    • ‘Regardless of where the control finally ends up, however, the historic days of operators copying flimsies, lining switches, and setting signals locally, have ended.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 Very thin paper.
      ‘sheets of yellow flimsy’


Early 18th century: probably from flimflam.