Definition of flivver in US English:



North American
dated, informal
  • A cheap car or aircraft, especially one in bad condition.

    • ‘You look up at the familiar rumble of that inveterate high-wing flivver of general aviation, the little monocoupe Luscombe 8.’
    • ‘In 1915, the telegrapher would drive his flivver to work across the new Ironton - Russell bridge, eat breakfast at the old ‘Y’ for a nickel, and employ that very same Morse technology that had dispatched trains here since 1887.’
    • ‘The score is unusual in that it does indeed illustrate the images, sometimes, as in the ‘Sunday Traffic’ sequence, with its convoy of flivvers chugging out of the city.’
    • ‘Foy motored into isolated regions where only the camel roamed, single-handedly engaging highwaymen and time and again drawing on his remarkable resourcefulness to bring his trademark flivver back to life.’
    • ‘You can't make flivvers without steel-and you can't make tragedies without social instability.’


Early 20th century: of unknown origin.