It’s not every day that one happens upon a word as fabulous as:


I mean, really, it’s almost addictive—you can’t help but giggle when you say it …


Try it three times fast and see if you can keep a straight face.

Something of an unsung onomatopoeia, flibbertigibbet (see, I had to say it again) refers to a talkative, flighty, “light-headed” person. While its origin is obscure, Dictionary.com tells us that this 15th-century term “is thought have been formed as an imitative representation of the sound of chatter or gossip.”

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?



Of course, here and now, amid the modernity of the 21st century, we politely shy away from placing gender restrictions upon our adjectives, but, for the record, flibbertigibbet is generally reserved for young women. So, I suppose this would be more fitting …


Photo by HerbertT via Wikimedia Commons

And, speaking of poultry, you may recall the gabbling goose in E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web declaring, “I am no Flibberty-ibberty-gibbet.”


Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Perhaps the one instance of flibbertigibbet’s utterance that packs the most parodic panache, however, is this (click to listen) …

Unless you’re one of the few devoted fans of the 1990 film Joe Versus the Volcano …


Theatrical release poster courtesy of Wikimedia

… you may not recognize the satirically sultry speaker as actress Meg Ryan, playing the ravishing (if a bit bird-brained) redhead, Angelica Graynamore.

Your turn to get flibbertigibbety. Cluck away in the comments, dear hens.


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I can hardly pronounce this word. It makes me instantly tongue-tied, but I do love the complexity of the sound. So fitting for the meaning that it carries too. It reminds me of the years of car pooling the girls back and forth from town to the horse barn. The back seat was awash with content gibber and laughter!

  2. connie says:

    What a great word! I am going to practice saying it, so I can use it! LOL!

  3. Rebecca Taylor says:

    The place that I remember hearing it from is The Sound of Music when the nuns are in the Abbey singing about Maria.
    In the song they sing….”How do you find a word that describes Maria?…A flibbertigibbet, a will of a wisp, a clown?”

  4. Time to get out and reread ” Charlotte’s Web” again. You know those big striped garden spiders? Well they write messages in their webs and I always point them out to everyone ( especially kids) and tell them the message is their own little secret. Honestly the do write , although mostly “m” , “v” , “w” and “a” and other zigzag letters.

  5. Olivia says:

    I started to send this message before, but broke off to look up a spelling and lost the link! Gerr! I may be repeating myself, but thought I should start over: Word question: “Fotchet” (I am spelling that as it sounded, probably not as it should be) My grandmother, a true hillbilly from the south, used to call “odd” or rambunctious people,: Little Fotchets! Somehow that phrase became part of my lexicon and I only recently questioned what it really means. Her phrasing usually indicated a silly rascal, or someone not to be overly trusted, more than anything truly evil or nasty-mean. Well, I tried to look up the actual meaning of that word and can not find anything I truly think fits. But then I have no idea how it should be accurately spelled either! The closest I have come is to “fourchette” which is French for fork, and could be construed to mean something like a part of the vulva? Which could be a possible stretch/match. I wanted to see you would have any insight as to “what the Heck is this woman talking about!!” or “Grandma was crazy”. or if it actually was at least a “Localism” that may have a history with the English language? Please let me know if you have any thoughts on this. Thank you much…. And I have added your web site to my favorites. I’ve only just tuned in, but it seems quite worth exploring! Thank you ladies! O.

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