I always just assumed it was a made-up word -“flibbertigibbet”, sort of like ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’.
But I came across flibbertigibbet twice today and given the source of where I came across it the second time, it made me think that it might be a real word. And that is not the only coincidence I want to share.
It started when I was exchanging comments with Robbie at Roberta Writes. She had written a post about a couple of her favorite songs, one of which happened to be “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. I left a comment saying my two favorite songs from that movie are Edelweiss (which is actually sung twice – I have trouble picking which version I like better) and the Lonely Goatherd.
Anyway, this is not meant to be a post about The Sound of Music.
However, Robbie then replied that she also likes the song Maria, since she said it reminds her of herself. And that’s where things get interesting.
I thought I would reply to her with a couple of lines from the song, and I somewhat randomly chose the following:
A flibbertigibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!
You can hear the line at 1:02 in the following video, and like I said earlier, I just assumed flibbertigibbet was a nonsense word.
But then later in the day I was going back through a book I had just finished, My Reading Life, by Pat Conroy. I was looking for a certain passage, and I came across this sentence:
You’re nothing but a knave and a flibbertigibbet,” Gene said, his eyes fixed on the nurse’s reaction.
Once I saw the word in a Pat Conroy book, it gave it immediate legitimacy, so I looked it up, and here is what I found:
flibbertigibbet: a frivolous, flighty, or excessively talkative person
So there it is, a new word for my vocabulary, even though the word itself sounds a bit frivolous. And what a coincidence to come across such a frivolous word twice in one day.
And did you notice the other coincidence?
Flibbertigibbet and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious both appear in movies featuring Julie Andrews!
*image from Let’s Move Quad Cities