follow Dictionary.com

Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers

flapper

[flap-er] /ˈflæp ər/
noun
1.
something broad and flat used for striking or for making a noise by striking.
2.
a broad, flat, hinged or hanging piece; flap.
3.
a young woman, especially one who, during the 1920s, behaved and dressed in a boldly unconventional manner.
4.
a young bird just learning to fly.
5.
Slang. the hand.
Origin
1560-1570
1560-70; flap + -er1
Related forms
flapperdom, noun
flapperish, adjective
flapperism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for flapper
  • So she ended up having a beaded flapper dress of the twenties.
  • Nor is it precisely a theatricalization of the novel: there are no bobbed hairdos, cigarette holders, or flapper gowns.
  • The handle lifts the flapper, which rests on top of the drain opening.
  • A-The toilet probably has a leak between the tank and bowl, caused by a worn or defective ball valve or flapper valve.
  • When a proper nozzle is inserted, the latches release, and the nozzle pushes the flapper door open.
  • Install the new flapper by sliding it down over the overflow tube until the ring touches the bottom of the tank.
  • Both flapper and plunger-ball leaks can cause toilets to run constantly or intermittently.
  • flapper ball leaks are more difficult to detect than overflow pipe leaks.
  • If the water in the bowl changes colors, the rubber flapper needs to be replaced.
  • Both of these devices will limit losses from toilet flapper leaks.
British Dictionary definitions for flapper

flapper

/ˈflæpə/
noun
1.
a person or thing that flaps
2.
(in the 1920s) a young woman, esp one flaunting her unconventional dress and behaviour
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for flapper
n.

"forward young woman," 1921 slang, from flap (v.), but the exact connection is disputed. Perhaps from flapper "young wild-duck or partridge" (1747), with reference to flapping wings while learning to fly, of which many late 19c. examples are listed in Wright's "English Dialect Dictionary" (1900), including one that defines it as "A young partridge unable to fly. Applied in joke to a girl of the bread-and-butter age."

But other suggested sources are late 19c. northern English dialectal use for "teen-age girl" (on notion of one with the hair not yet put up), or an earlier meaning "prostitute" (1889), which is perhaps from dialectal flap "young woman of loose character" (1610s). Any or all of these might have converged in the 1920s sense. Wright also has flappy, of persons, "wild, unsteady, flighty," with the note that it was also "Applied to a person's character, as 'a flappy lass,'" and further on he lists flappy sket (n.) "an immoral woman."

In Britain the word took on political tones in reference to the debate over voting rights.

"Flapper" is the popular press catch-word for an adult woman worker, aged twenty-one to thirty, when it is a question of giving her the vote under the same conditions as men of the same age. ["Punch," Nov. 30, 1927]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for flapper

flapper

modifier

: the flapper era/ flat flapper chest

noun
  1. The hand; flipper (1770s+)
  2. A young woman of the type fashionable in the 1920s, with pronounced worldly interests, relatively few inhibitions, a distinctive style of grooming, etc •The date refers to two senses, ''a young whore'' and ''a young girl''; the 1920s revival seems to blend these (1893+)

[origin uncertain; perhaps from the idea of an unfledged bird flapping its wings]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for flapper

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for flapper

14
17
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for flapper