Definition of flipper in English:



  • 1A broad flat limb without fingers, used for swimming by various sea animals such as seals, whales, and turtles.

    • ‘With a few broad strokes of its flippers, the turtle I've nabbed tows me along under the shallow water until I find my feet, only to be pulled off them again as the powerful creature yanks me forward.’
    • ‘Black market trade in adult turtles' meat, flippers, and shells also helps keep the animals in peril.’
    • ‘Modern sirenians (manatees and dugongs) are large, docile, aquatic herbivores that have flippers for forelimbs and no hind limbs.’
    • ‘Protruding into the flow as they do, they would appear to increase the drag of the flipper as the whale swings into a turn.’
    • ‘They are still quite adept at feeding, however; without feathers, their wings resemble penguin flippers.’
    • ‘The flippers are broad, and the tail has a folded ridge on its dorsal surface.’
    • ‘To our astonishment, not only did the seals' flippers glow, but so did the rest of their bodies.’
    • ‘Harbor seals have short front flippers with claws which are used to move on land.’
    • ‘The flippers are broad and either rounded or sharply curved.’
    • ‘Their forelimbs are modified to form flippers, their hindlimbs are reduced to nothing more than a vestigial pelvis, and their tail is enlarged and flattened horizontally to form a fluke or paddle.’
    • ‘In whales, seals, and manatees alike, their arms and hands became flippers - stubby, webbed, fin-like limbs.’
    • ‘The humpback has the longest flippers of any whale, and they lie substantially forward of the whale's center of mass, well placed to exert turning forces on the whale.’
    • ‘The limbs are modified into flippers for swimming and cannot support the weight of the turtle on land.’
    • ‘We collected tissue samples from the hind flippers of unrestrained, resting seals, by using ear-notching pliers.’
    • ‘Pinnipeds are aquatic mammals with all flour limbs modified into flippers.’
    • ‘The short broad flippers have rounded tips and are about 1.5 m long.’
    • ‘This limitation can be reduced by propulsive movements of mobile flippers as the animal comes out of the turn.’
    • ‘Sea turtles have paddle-shaped flippers that help them move through the water, one pair of lungs and a body temperature that fluctuates with the environment.’
    • ‘The recently captured dolphin developed an extra set of flippers from these limbs that are about the size of human hands.’
    • ‘The forelimbs are specialized to form flippers, and the hind limbs and pelvis are extremely small and do not normally extend out of the body wall of the animal.’
    1. 1.1A flat rubber attachment worn on the foot for underwater swimming.
      • ‘We could loll in the sun in deck chairs, or grab snorkels and flippers for a swim, or board a semisubmersible ship for a tour of the reef in comfort.’
      • ‘On their backs they had strapped on oxygen canisters, and they had flippers on their feet.’
      • ‘He swam through in a heavy swell, wearing a wetsuit and flippers, and watched by six fellow-students.’
      • ‘I would bring lots of different clothes like jeans, trousers, shirts, T-shirts, swimming costumes, flippers and goggles, shorts if it is hot.’
      • ‘This is demonstrated by Thorpe and illustrated with the sensation a swimmer gets when swimming with flippers.’
      • ‘Crunching awkwardly over the broken glass (her father's shoes were like flippers on her feet) she peered down at the brick and saw that there was a piece of paper wrapped around it.’
      • ‘Customers can also win a pair of Turkey feet - like rubber flippers.’
      • ‘But then he appeared to be wearing swimming trunks and flippers!’
      • ‘Then came the lead weights around our waists, the heavy oxygen cylinders, the masks, and the huge flippers for our feet.’
      • ‘He couldn't have looked more out of his depth had he taken to the field in flippers and a wetsuit.’
      • ‘‘I met a designer today who was actually talking about embedding rhinestones into swimwear flippers,’ says a senior brand manager.’
      • ‘Now swap all skates, helmets and padding for flippers, snorkels and swimsuits.’
      • ‘When Dara Torres hung it up, there was a horde of 14-17-year-olds eager to fill her flippers.’
      • ‘Sure, people noticed the flipper attached to the prosthesis on his left leg.’
      • ‘The leader, an Italian, was dressed in swimming trunks, a mask and snorkel and flippers and the children were exploding with giggles at the sight of this extraordinary man.’
      • ‘A better analogy is to equate the new swimsuits with flippers and hand paddles, equipment devices that enhance performance.’
      • ‘Drills with kickboards and flippers help to strengthen the kick.’
      • ‘Umberto removed the flippers from his feet and ambled about the end of the small island.’
      • ‘Ads for its retirement plan show a pair of feet in diving flippers, stretched out on a tropical beach.’
      • ‘Quickly, they put on the snorkel masks and Ko reluctantly strapped on the rubber flippers.’
    2. 1.2A pivoted arm in a pinball machine, controlled by the player and used for sending the ball back up the table.
      • ‘A smiling attendant directed participants towards one of four control stations, from which each directed one of the four giant flippers in the huge pinball machine.’
      • ‘Bumper is a very playable pinball game where you control the flippers on a virtual pinball machine.’
      • ‘At 21 Shane Warne thought a flipper was pinball jargon.’
      • ‘The flipper action is fast and true and the ball physics are consistent, especially off the flippers and bumpers.’
      • ‘The machine resembles a vertical pinball box without the flippers to control the dropping of the ball from top to bottom - the only control is the powerflicker, with which you can propel the balls faster or slower into the box.’
      • ‘Until then, however, the gameplay depends on twiddling two flippers and watching as your tiny silver ball swoops around the environments.’
      • ‘Now there are volcanoes and floods and all manner of badness, and it's up to you as the player to set things right with flippers and ball.’
      • ‘The in-game physics is good, and the ball responds well to a swift flick of the flipper, or you can trap it in the corner (a trick favoured by pinball wizards from Soho to Brighton).’
      • ‘Hey, hitting the flippers and watching my giant iron ball crush hundreds of little troops was oddly gratifying, what can I say?’
      • ‘Gaspard's also boasts an original pre-impressionist juke box, complete with scratchy Sartrean torch songs by Greco and Piaf, and a pinball machine whose left flipper has been bust since Stevenson's day.’
    3. 1.3informal A hand.