Etymology
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flipper (n.)

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.

updated on November 26, 2014

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Definitions of flipper from WordNet

flipper (n.)
a shoe for swimming; the paddle-like front is an aid in swimming (especially underwater);
Synonyms: fin
flipper (n.)
the flat broad limb of aquatic animals specialized for swimming;
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.