Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
Posts: 4540
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA


Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Nov 25, 2005 12:17 am

• flibbertigibbet •

Pronunciation: fli-bêr-ti-ji-bit • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A silly, talkative scatterbrain, usually (as usual) in reference to a woman.

Notes: You might take this word to an adjective, flibbertigibbetty, but you wouldn't want to reach for the adverb, flibbertigibbetily, for fear your co-conversationalist might walk away before you finish it. The same applies for the stuff flibbertigibbets are made of, flibbertigibbetiness: it takes much too long to utter and is fraught with potential slips of the tongue.

In Play: I think we should not allow women all the fun of this word. Male flibbertigibbets abound: "You can ask the flibbertigibbet to tell his wife when he gets home but there is little chance he will remember." (Do you know who I'm talking about?) If you are a talkative woman, better a flibbertigibbet than a termagant.

Word History: This is a fine word to throw out in the appropriate conversation, despite the risk of tripping over one of those syllables. The original seems to have been recorded about 1450 as fleper-gebet, a rhythmic rhyme compound of the order of yackety-yack, lickety-split, and yadda-yadda-yadda. Its original sense was a gossip or chatterbox, but over time it shifted to a flighty or frivolous woman. (Today we are grateful to Katy Brezger of the Alpha Agora for suggesting this playful bit of English.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword

User avatar
Senior Lexiterian
Posts: 556
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:00 pm

Postby Apoclima » Fri Nov 25, 2005 1:37 am

Flibbertigibbet has the feeling of a bird with a long arrhythmic atonal chatter-song.

'Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination.' -Max Planck

Senior Lexiterian
Posts: 515
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 5:23 am
Location: Michigan, United States

Postby Grogie » Sat Nov 26, 2005 5:43 am

Excellent word Katy.

User avatar
Senior Lexiterian
Posts: 789
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:18 pm
Location: The Old North State

Postby tcward » Sun Nov 27, 2005 9:17 am

I would never have expected that 'g' to be pronounced like a 'j'.


Return to “Good Word Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests