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[friv-uh-luh s] /ˈfrɪv ə ləs/
characterized by lack of seriousness or sense:
frivolous conduct.
self-indulgently carefree; unconcerned about or lacking any serious purpose.
(of a person) given to trifling or undue levity:
a frivolous, empty-headed person.
of little or no weight, worth, or importance; not worthy of serious notice:
a frivolous suggestion.
Origin of frivolous
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Latin frīvolus worthless, trifling; see -ous
Related forms
frivolously, adverb
frivolousness, noun
unfrivolous, adjective
unfrivolously, adverb
unfrivolousness, noun
Can be confused
frivolity, frivolousness.
3. idle, silly, foolish, childish, puerile. 4. light, trifling, petty, paltry, trivial, flimsy.
3. serious. 4. weighty. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for frivolousness
Historical Examples
  • It was intimated to me that such "frivolousness" was out of kelter with the profession of a Christian.

    From the Bottom Up Alexander Irvine
  • Unconsciously he made Thea pay for frivolousness of this sort.

    Song of the Lark Willa Cather
  • He had that contempt for all dallying and toying and lightness and frivolousness that hard, serious workers always have.

    Fresh Fields John Burroughs
  • frivolousness never goes away from the royal Presence rich with surprises of grace.

  • It is better far because our seriousness comes back to dwell with us; and our frivolousness does the same.

    The Bible and Life Edwin Holt Hughes
  • The question whether a spice of frivolousness may not be a safeguard has often risen before me.

British Dictionary definitions for frivolousness


not serious or sensible in content, attitude, or behaviour; silly: a frivolous remark
unworthy of serious or sensible treatment; unimportant: frivolous details
Derived Forms
frivolously, adverb
frivolousness, frivolity (frɪˈvɒlɪtɪ) noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin frīvolus silly, worthless
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for frivolousness



mid-15c., from Latin frivolus "silly, empty, trifling, worthless, brittle," diminutive of *frivos "broken, crumbled," from friare "break, rub away, crumble." Related: Frivolously; frivolousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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