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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]
: flip-flop views and reluctance to confront the issuesnoun
A complete reversal of direction; about-face •The primary meaning is ''somersault'': Commodities have been doing flip-flops on the price ladderverb
: So Kennedy's flip-flopped again (1900+)