Pronunciation Noun

flit (plural flits)

  1. A fluttering or darting movement.
  2. (physics) A particular, unexpected, short lived change of state.
    My computer just had a flit.
  3. (slang) A homosexual.
    • 1951, J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 18:
      The other end of the bar was full of flits. They weren't too flitty-looking—I mean they didn't have their hair too long or anything—but you could tell they were flits anyway.

flit (flits, present participle flitting; past and past participle flitted)

  1. To move about rapidly and nimbly.
    • 1855, Tennyson, Maud:
      A shadow flits before me, / Not thou, but like to thee; […]
    • 1912: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes, Chapter 6
      There were many apes with faces similar to his own, and further over in the book he found, under "M," some little monkeys such as he saw daily flitting through the trees of his primeval forest. But nowhere was pictured any of his own people; in all the book was none that resembled Kerchak, or Tublat, or Kala.
  2. To move quickly from one location to another.
    • 1597, Richard Hooker, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie, Chapter 5 ↗:
      By their means it became a received opinion, that the souls of men departing this life, do flit out of one body into some other.
  3. (physics) To unpredictably change state for short periods of time.
    My blender flits because the power cord is damaged.
  4. (UK, Scotland, dialect) To move house (sometimes a sudden move to avoid debts).
    • 1855, Anthony Trollope, The Warden, page 199 ISBN 0679405518
      After this manner did the late Warden of Barchester Hospital accomplish his flitting, and change his residence.
    • 1859, George Dasent (tr.), Popular Tales from the Norse, "The Cat on the Dovrefell":
      […] we can't give any one house-room just now, for every Christmas Eve such a pack of Trolls come down upon us that we are forced to flit, and haven't so much as a house over our own heads, to say nothing of lending one to any one else.
  5. To be unstable; to be easily or often moved.
    • the free soul to flitting air resigned
Related terms Translations Translations Translations
  • Russian: барахли́ть


  1. (poetic, obsolete) Fast, nimble.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.iv:
      And in his hand two darts exceeding flit, / And deadly sharpe he held [...].

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