When a parent scolds a teenager for missing a curfew or blowing off a test and the teen snaps back, “Whatever,” you could say the teen is being flippant. His reply was casual to the point of sarcasm and disrespect.

When it first showed up in the English language around the 17th century, flippant meant glib and talkative. But over the years it has developed a more negative connotation. Today flippant is used to describe a blasé attitude or comment in a situation that calls for seriousness. Make a flippant comment about your friend’s mother and the odds are good that they’ll be offended.

Definitions of flippant
  1. adjective

    showing inappropriate levity



    not serious in content or attitude or behavior

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