showing that you do not take something as seriously as other people think you should a flippant answer/attitude Sorry, I didn't mean to sound flippant. You can’t afford to be flippant about such matters. Word Origin early 17th cent.: from flip + -ant, perhaps on the pattern of heraldic terms such as couchant and rampant. Early senses included ‘nimble’ and ‘talkative’, hence ‘playful’, giving rise to the current use ‘lacking seriousness’.