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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 frivolous
  • To deny it is to see in art only something frivolous and insincere.
  • It's not as though proofreading instructions are arbitrary and frivolous.
  • My opponent has fought efforts to reduce frivolous litigation.
  • The human animal is no more frivolous and irresponsible than fearful and lethargic.
  • They argue that cases could be strung along endlessly and expensively by frivolous appeals if there are no such limits.
  • Most of these stabs at nationhood have been frivolous and some crackpot.
  • He may be wrong, but it is not a frivolous observation.
  • There are real victims out there that would be marginalized because of the inevitable backlash this frivolous lawsuit has primed.
  • But when it comes to larger historical events, such speculations tend to seem frivolous and beside the point.
  • Sometimes eye stickers are used for more frivolous purposes.
British Dictionary definitions for frivolous


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 frivolous

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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