Where does the word “Flibbertigibbet” come from and What does Flibbertigibbet mean?

Strangely enough, the word “Flibbertigibbet” does not appear ever to have been considered as slang.

As evidence thereof the first printed appearance of which we have record was in a sermon, and at that, a sermon before His Majesty the King, King Edward the Sixth in the year 1549, sermon by Bishop Hugh Latimer.

The word he used, however, was flibbergib, which he spelled flybbergybe.

His meaning was that of today, a garrulous or flighty person. But Shakespeare, who wrote flibbertigibbet in King Lear, used it as other writers had done, as the name of a devil.

And Scott, in Kenilworth, had it mean an impish youngster.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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