flew Look up flew at Dictionary.com
past tense of fly (v.1).
flex (v.) Look up flex at Dictionary.com
1520s, "to bend," usually of muscles, probably a back-formation from flexible. Related: Flexed; flexing.
flexibility (n.) Look up flexibility at Dictionary.com
1610s, of physical things, from French flexibilité (in Old French, "weakness, vacillation") or directly from Late Latin flexibilitatem (nominative flexibilitas), from Latin flexibilis "pliant, yielding" (see flexible). Of immaterial things from 1783.
flexible (adj.) Look up flexible at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "capable of being bent; mentally or spiritually pliant," from Middle French flexible or directly from Latin flexibilis "that may be bent, pliant, flexible, yielding;" figuratively "tractable, inconstant," from flex-, past participle stem of flectere "to bend," which is of uncertain origin. Flexile (1630s) and flexive (1620s) have become rare. Related: Flexibly. Coles' dictionary (1717) has flexiloquent "speaking words of doubtful or double meaning."
flexion (n.) Look up flexion at Dictionary.com
c.1600, "bent part," also, in grammar, "modification of part of a word," from Latin flexionem (nominative flexio) "a bending, swaying; bend, turn, curve," noun of action from past participle stem of flectere "to bend" (see flexible). Flection (18c.) is more recent, less etymological, but said to be more common in modern English, perhaps by influence of affection, direction, where the -ct- is in the Latin word. According to some modern dictionaries, flexion is "confined to anatomical contexts." Related: Flexional; flectional.
flexography (n.) Look up flexography at Dictionary.com
type of rotary printing technique, 1952, from comb. form of flexible (in reference to the plate used) + -graphy in the literal sense.
flexor (n.) Look up flexor at Dictionary.com
1610s, of muscles, Modern Latin, agent noun from stem of Latin flectere "to bend" (see flexible). Alternative form flector attested from 1660s (see flexion).
flextime (n.) Look up flextime at Dictionary.com
also short for flexitime, 1972, translating German Gleitzeit "sliding time." See flex + time (n.).
flexuous (adj.) Look up flexuous at Dictionary.com
"full of bends or curves, winding, sinuous," c.1600, from Latin flexuosus, from flexus (n.) "a bending," from flectere "to bend" (see flexible). From 1620s as "undulating."
flexure (n.) Look up flexure at Dictionary.com
1590s, "action of flexing or bending," from Latin flextura, from flectere "to bend" (see flexible). From 1620s as "flexed or bent condition; direction in which something is bent." Picked up in mathematics (1670s), geology (1833).
flibbertigibbet (n.) Look up flibbertigibbet at Dictionary.com
1540s, "chattering gossip, flighty woman," probably a nonsense word meant to sound like fast talking; as the name of a devil or fiend it dates from c.1600 (together with Frateretto, Hoberdidance, Tocobatto). OED lists 15 spellings and thinks flibbergib is the original.
flick (n.) Look up flick at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "light blow or stroke," probably imitative of a light blow with a whip. Earliest recorded use is in phrase not worth a flykke "useless." Meaning "quick turn of the wrist" is from 1897 in sports. As slang for "film," it is first attested 1926, a back-formation from flicker (v.), from their flickering appearance.
flick (v.) Look up flick at Dictionary.com
1816, "to throw off with a jerk," from flick (n.). Meaning "strike lightly with a quick jerk" is from 1838. Related: Flicked; flicking.
flicker (n.1) Look up flicker at Dictionary.com
1849, "wavering, unsteady light or flame;" 1857 as "a flickering," from flicker (v.).
flicker (v.) Look up flicker at Dictionary.com
Old English flicorian "to flutter, flap quickly and lightly, move the wings," originally of birds. Onomatopoeic and suggestive of quick motion. Sense of "shine with a wavering light" is c.1600, but not common till 19c. Related: Flickered; flickering.
flicker (n.2) Look up flicker at Dictionary.com
type of North American woodpecker, 1808, American English, said to be echoic of bird's note, or from black spots on plumage of the underparts that seem to flicker as it flits from tree to tree.
flier (n.) Look up flier at Dictionary.com
see flyer.
flight (n.1) Look up flight at Dictionary.com
"act of flying," Old English flyht "a flying, act or power of flying," from Proto-Germanic *flukhtiz (cognates: Dutch vlucht "flight of birds," Old Norse flugr, Old High German flug, German Flug "flight"), from Proto-Germanic *flug-ti-, from PIE *pluk-, from root *pleu- "to flow" (see fly (v.1)).

Spelling altered late 14c. from Middle English fliht (see fight (v.)). Sense of "swift motion" is from mid-13c.. Meaning "an instance of flight" is 1785, originally of ballooning. Sense of "a number of things passing through the air together" is from mid-13c. Meaning "series of stairs between landings" is from 1703. Figuratively, "an excursion" of fancy, imagination, etc., from 1660s. Flight-path is from 1919; flight-test (v.) from 1931; flight-simulator from 1947; flight-attendant from 1954.
flight (n.2) Look up flight at Dictionary.com
"act of fleeing," c.1200, flihht, not found in Old English, but presumed to have existed and cognate with Old Saxon fluht, Old Frisian flecht "act of fleeing," Dutch vlucht, Old High German fluht, German Flucht, Old Norse flotti, Gothic þlauhs, from Proto-Germanic *flug-ti- (see flight (n.1)). To put (someone or something) to flight "rout, defeat" is from late 14c., the earlier verb form do o' flight (early 13c.).
flightless (adj.) Look up flightless at Dictionary.com
"incapable of flying," 1875, from flight (n.1) + -less. Related: Flightlessly; flightlessness.
flighty (adj.) Look up flighty at Dictionary.com
1550s, "swift," from flight (n.1) + -y (2). Sense of "fickle or frivolous" is from 1768, perhaps from notion of "given to 'flights' of imagination." Related: Flightiness.
flim-flam (n.) Look up flim-flam at Dictionary.com
also flimflam, 1530s, a contemptuous echoic construction, perhaps connected to some unrecorded dialectal word from Scandinavian (compare Old Norse flim "a lampoon"). From 1650s as a verb. Related: Flim-flammer.
flimsy (adj.) Look up flimsy at Dictionary.com
1702, of unknown origin, perhaps a metathesis of film (n.) "gauzy covering" + -y (2). Figuratively (of arguments, etc.) from 1750s. Related: Flimsily; flimsiness.
flinch (v.) Look up flinch at Dictionary.com
1570s, apparently a nasalized form of obsolete Middle English flecche "to bend, flinch," which probably is from Old French flechir "to bend" (Modern French fléchir), also flechier "to bend, turn aside, flinch," which probably are from Frankish *hlankjan or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *hlinc- (cognates: Middle High German linken, German lenken "to bend, turn, lead"), from PIE root *kleng- "to bend, turn" (see link (n.)). There were nasalized form of the word in Old French as well (flenchir "to bend; give ground, retreat"). Related: Flinched; flinching. As a noun, "the action of flinching," from 1817.
flinders (n.) Look up flinders at Dictionary.com
"pieces, fragments, splinters," mid-15c., Scottish flendris, probably related to Norwegian flindra "chip, splinter," or Dutch flenter "fragment;" ultimately from the same PIE root that produced flint.
fling (v.) Look up fling at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "to dash, run, rush," probably from or related to Old Norse flengja "to flog," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Proto-Germanic *flang- (cognates: Old Swedish flenga "strike," Danish flænge "slash, gash"), from a nasalized variant of PIE *plak- (2) "to strike" (see plague (n.)). Meaning "to throw, cast, hurl" is from mid-14c. An obsolete word for "streetwalker, harlot" was fling-stink (1670s). Related: Flung; flinging.
fling (n.) Look up fling at Dictionary.com
"attempt, attack," early 14c.; see fling (v.). Hence have a fling at "make a try." Sense of "period of indulgence on the eve of responsibilities" first attested 1827. Meaning "vigorous dance" (associated with the Scottish Highlands) is from 1806.
flint (n.) Look up flint at Dictionary.com
Old English flint "flint, rock," common Germanic (cognates Middle Dutch vlint, Old High German flins, Danish flint), from PIE *splind- "to split, cleave," from root *(s)plei- "to splice, split" (cognates: Greek plinthos "brick, tile," Old Irish slind "brick"), perhaps a variant of *spel- (1) "to split, break off." Transferred senses were in Old English.
flintlock (n.) Look up flintlock at Dictionary.com
1680s as a type of musket-firing mechanism, from flint + lock (n.1).
flintstone (n.) Look up flintstone at Dictionary.com
early 14c., from flint + stone (n.).
flinty (adj.) Look up flinty at Dictionary.com
"hard-hearted," 1530s, from flint + -y (2). Literal sense of "resembling flint" is from 1640s. Related: Flintily; flintiness.
flip (v.) Look up flip at Dictionary.com
1590s (1520s in flip-flop), imitative or else a contraction of fillip (q.v.), which also is held to be imitative. Sense of "get excited" is first recorded 1950; flip one's lid "lose one's head, go wild" is from 1950. For flip (adj.) "glib," see flippant. Meaning "to flip a coin" (to decide something) is by 1879. As a noun by 1690s. Related: Flipped. Flipping (adj.) as euphemism for fucking is British slang first recorded 1911 in D.H. Lawrence. Flip side (of a gramophone record) is by 1949.
flip (n.) Look up flip at Dictionary.com
sailors' hot drink usually containing beer, brandy and sugar, 1690s, from flip (v.); so called from notion of it being "whipped up" or beaten.
flip-flop (n.) Look up flip-flop at Dictionary.com
also flip flop, "thong sandal," by 1972, imitative of the sound of walking in them (flip-flap had been used in various echoic senses, mostly echoic, since 1520s); sense of "complete reversal of direction" dates from 1900.
Flip-flaps, a peculiar rollicking dance indulged in by costermongers, better described as the double shuffle; originally a kind of somersault. [Hotten's Slang Dictionary, 1864]
flippancy (n.) Look up flippancy at Dictionary.com
1746, from flippant + -cy.
flippant (adj.) Look up flippant at Dictionary.com
c.1600, "talkative;" 1670s, "displaying unbecoming levity," apparently an extended form of flip (v.). Shortened form flip is attested from 1847. Related: Flippantly.
flipper (n.) Look up flipper at Dictionary.com
"limb used to swim with," 1822, agent noun from flip (v.). Sense of "rubber fin for underwater swimming" is from 1945. Slang meaning "the hand" dates from 1836. Related: Flippers.
flirt (v.) Look up flirt at Dictionary.com
1550s, originally "to turn up one's nose, sneer at," then "to rap or flick, as with the fingers" (1560s). The noun is first attested 1540s, from the verb, with the meaning "stroke of wit." It's possible that the original word was imitative, along the lines of flip (v.), but there seems to be some influence from flit, such as in the flirt sense of "to move in short, quick flights," attested from 1580s.

Meanwhile flirt (n.) had come to mean "a pert young hussey" [Johnson] by 1560s, and Shakespeare has flirt-gill (i.e. Jill) "a woman of light or loose behavior," while flirtgig was a 17c. Yorkshire dialect word for "a giddy, flighty girl." All or any of these could have fed into the main modern verbal sense of "play at courtship" (1777), which also could have grown naturally from the earlier meaning "to flit inconstantly from object to object" (1570s), perhaps influenced by Old French fleureter "talk sweet nonsense," also "to touch a thing in passing," diminutive of fleur "flower" and metaphoric of bees skimming from flower to flower.

The noun meaning "person who flirts" is from 1732. The English word also is possibly related to East Frisian flirt "a flick or light blow," and flirtje "a giddy girl." French flirter "to flirt" is a 19c. borrowing from English. Related: Flirted; flirting.
flirtation (n.) Look up flirtation at Dictionary.com
1718, noun of action from flirt (v.).
flirtatious (adj.) Look up flirtatious at Dictionary.com
1834, from flirtation + -ous. Related: Flirtatiously; flirtatiousness.
flirty (adj.) Look up flirty at Dictionary.com
1840, from flirt (v.) + -y (2). Related: Flirtiness.
flit (v.) Look up flit at Dictionary.com
c.1200, flutten "convey, move, take, carry away, go away," perhaps from Old Norse flytja "to remove, bring."
Theire desire ... is to goe to theire newe masters eyther on a Tewsday, or on a Thursday; for ... they say Munday flitte, Neaver sitte. [Henry Best, farming & account book, 1641]
Related: Flitted; flitting. As a noun, from 1835.
flitch (n.) Look up flitch at Dictionary.com
"side of bacon," Middle English flicche (early 13c.), from Old English flicce, related to Old Norse flikki, Middle Low German vlicke "piece of flesh." Not immediately connected to flesh (n.), but perhaps from the same PIE root. A flitch was presented every year at Dunmow, in Essex, to any married couple who could prove they had lived together without quarreling for a year and a day, a custom mentioned as far back as mid-14c.
flitter (v.) Look up flitter at Dictionary.com
1540s, from flit with frequentative suffix. Flitter-mouse (1540s) is occasionally used in English, in imitation of German fledermaus "bat," from Old High German fledaron "to flutter." Related: Flittered; flittering. As a noun, from 1892.
flitty (adj.) Look up flitty at Dictionary.com
1640s, from flit (n.) + -y (2). Related: Flittiness.
flivver (n.) Look up flivver at Dictionary.com
"cheap car," especially "Model-T Ford," 1910, of unknown origin.
float (v.) Look up float at Dictionary.com
late Old English flotian "to float" (class II strong verb; past tense fleat, past participle floten), from Proto-Germanic *flotan "to float" (cognates: Old Norse flota, Middle Dutch vloten), from PIE root *pleu- "to flow" (see pluvial). Of motion through air, from 1630s. Related: Floated; floating.
float (n.) Look up float at Dictionary.com
early 12c., "state of floating" (Old English flot meant "body of water"), from float (v.). Meaning "platform on wheels used for displays in parades, etc." is from 1888, probably from earlier sense of "flat-bottomed boat" (1550s). As a type of fountain drink, by 1915.
Float.--An ade upon the top of which is floated a layer of grape juice, ginger ale, or in some cases a disher of fruit sherbet or ice cream. In the latter case it would be known as a "sherbet float" or an "ice-cream float." ["The Dispenser's Formulary: Or, Soda Water Guide," New York, 1915]



Few soda water dispensers know what is meant by a "Float Ice Cream Soda." This is not strange since the term is a coined one. By a "float ice cream soda" is meant a soda with the ice cream floating on top, thus making a most inviting appearance and impressing the customer that you are liberal with your ice cream, when you are not really giving any more than the fellow that mixes his ice cream "out of sight." ["The Spatula," Boston, July, 1908]
floatation (n.) Look up floatation at Dictionary.com
1806, the older, more etymological, but less popular spelling of flotation.
floater (n.) Look up floater at Dictionary.com
"dead body found in water," 1890, U.S. slang, agent noun from float (v.).