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flirt

[flurt] /flɜrt/
verb (used without object)
1.
to court triflingly or act amorously without serious intentions; play at love; coquet.
2.
to trifle or toy, as with an idea:
She flirted with the notion of buying a sports car.
3.
to move with a jerk or jerks; dart about:
butterflies flirting from flower to flower.
verb (used with object)
4.
to give a sudden or brisk motion to; wave smartly, as a fan.
5.
to throw or propel with a toss or jerk; fling suddenly.
noun
6.
Also, flirter. a person who is given to flirting.
7.
a quick throw or toss; sudden jerk or darting motion.
Origin
1540-1550
1540-50; expressive word; compare similar initial cluster in flap, flick1, flip1, and final elements of squirt, spurt, etc.
Related forms
flirtingly, adverb
Synonyms
1. tease. 1, 2. dally. 6. minx, coquette, tease.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for flirt
  • Except they don't, because these people are hired to flirt with you.
  • And he was, as his personal letters prove, an unrepentant flirt.
  • We talk about our lives, our research, and maybe even flirt a little.
  • There they argue, drink and flirt with each other, and try to avoid being voted out by viewers.
  • There's not a lot of joking, not a lot of flirting, because there's no one to joke and flirt with.
  • The three-story-high promenades in the center make fine places for students to flirt.
  • QE doesn't work and the bankers suspect it and don't want to flirt around with flamboyant use of it and then have it fail.
  • And it encourages voters to flirt with extremists, knowing they can make centrist parties their second preference.
  • If they want to flirt with the laws and mock the governance, they shall pay the price.
  • She licks her lips and lets her mouth fall open in the automatic fashion of a flirt.
British Dictionary definitions for flirt

flirt

/flɜːt/
verb
1.
(intransitive) to behave or act amorously without emotional commitment; toy or play with another's affections; dally
2.
(intransitive) usually foll by with. to deal playfully or carelessly (with something dangerous or serious); trifle: the motorcyclist flirted with death
3.
(intransitive) usually foll by with. to think casually (about); toy (with): to flirt with the idea of leaving
4.
(intransitive) to move jerkily; dart; flit
5.
(transitive) to subject to a sudden swift motion; flick or toss
noun
6.
a person who acts flirtatiously
Derived Forms
flirter, noun
flirty, adjective
flirtingly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: of uncertain origin
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 flirt
v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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