English interjections: oh flip!


In UK English, flip can be a mild interjection, used to show annoyance with something. For example, someone might say:

«Oh flip! It’s my cousin’s birthday today and I forgot to send a card!»


To flip means ‘to turn something over by tossing it in the air’ or ‘to move or turn something on with a sudden stroke.’ It also means ‘to turn rapidly,’ when talking about pages, or, when used with through, ‘to read quickly.’
Informally, flip has many meanings, such as ‘to react with great shock’ and ‘to become very excited or enthusiastic’ about someone or something, usually followed by the preposition over. As a noun, a flip is a somersault in the air, as well as an instance of flipping.


Example sentences
Roger flipped the burgers on the barbecue to cook the other side.
Linda flipped the switch and all the lights came on.
John wasn’t really reading the book, he was just flipping the pages.
The boss always flips through the reports, looking for the important points.
Ellen’s going to flip when we tell her the news!
Teenagers everywhere have flipped over this new band.
The gymnast performed a perfect flip.

Again, in UK English, you can also use the related adjective «flipping» to describe something that is annoying you. Example: «This flipping computer keeps crashing and I really need to get my work finished!» It really is a very mild word that is unlikely to cause offense to anyone.

Multi-word forms
flip out: to lose control, especially to become very angry or very excited. Example: «Adam’s parents flipped out when he told them he’d crashed their car.» «My parents are going to flip out when I tell them I got the highest score on the test.»
flip-flop: This can be a verb, meaning to move from one side to another. Example: «Sometimes politicians flip-flop on issues if they think it will get them more votes.»
As a noun, a flip-flop refers to such a move from one thing to another. It is also a usually waterproof, backless sandal with a strap between the toes that is often worn at the beach or pool. In the US we can also call these thongs or thong sandals.
Additional information
A flip is also a mixed drink made with liquor or wine, sugar, and egg, topped with powdered nutmeg and served hot or cold. In the 18th century, it used to be a drink made with beer or ale mixed with rum or other liquor, sweetened and served hot.


Other forms:
flippant (adjective), flipper (noun)
To flip, meaning to turn something over, was first used in the late 16th century. It’s thought to be either a contraction of fillip or a variation of flap; in either case, all three words probably came from the sound something makes when it is turned over quickly in the air. As a noun, flip first appeared in the late 17th century, to describe a somersault where men put first their hands and then their feet on the floor. It was part of a dance. Soon this meaning was widened to anything that could be turned quickly in the air.
 Thanks to WordReference
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