An Aussie shiraz of a word, waving its ample endowments to all and sundry. It may sound like a Welsh village, but it’s really a flighty gibbering flapper. It brings overtones of Balkan nuts and Elizabethan executions, but they are subsumed in the general flopping and fluttering as of a cat’s pajamas wrapped around a flivver’s battered rubber tire. Fibbertigibbets have been around forever, with their babbling jaws and butterfly minds, but the word imitating their prattle hit the page in the sixteenth century. It, too, has flitted a bit, playing a part as a demon in Shakespeare and an urchin in Scott, but who cannot hear it and know in a flip what subject to give it?

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