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Probably of North Germanic origin, from Norwegian flunsa (hurry), perhaps ultimately imitative. Or, perhaps formed on the pattern of pounce, bounce.


  • IPA(key): /flaʊns/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aʊns


flounce (third-person singular simple present flounces, present participle flouncing, simple past and past participle flounced)

  1. To move in an exaggerated, bouncy manner.
    • 1952, Norman Lewis, Golden Earth:
      There was a continual coming and going of flouncing, pig-tailed forms, until the table was closely covered with dishes, scarlet curries with surface currents of ochreous oil, three varieties of what looked like seaweed (inevitably recommended as abundant in vitamins), a paste made of ground beans and chillis...
  2. (archaic) To flounder; to make spastic motions.
    • a. 1677, Isaac Barrow, Of Contentment (sermon)
      To flutter and flounce will do nothing but batter and bruise us.
    • 1717, Joseph Addison, Metamorphoses
      With his broad fins and forky tail he laves / The rising surge, and flounces in the waves.
  3. To decorate with a flounce.
  4. To depart in a haughty, dramatic way that draws attention to oneself.
    After failing to win the leadership election, he flounced dramatically.
    • 1956 [1880], Johanna Spyri, Heidi, translation of original by Eileen Hall, page 67:
      'Oh certainly,' retorted Tinette impudently, as she flounced out of the room.
    • 2002 September 9, PButler111, “Re: OT - Sept. 11th?”, in alt.fan.barry-manilow, Usenet[1]:
      You got your ass kicked and instead of admitting you might have made a mistake, you flounced.
    • 2012 August 7, Gaby Hinsliff, “The lessons of Louise Mensch's departure? There are none”, in The Guardian[2]:
      But love Mensch or hate her, don't buy the line that she merely got bored and flounced: for whatever else she achieved in politics, she was never exactly stuck for ways to make it interesting.



flounce (plural flounces)

  1. (sewing) A strip of decorative material, usually pleated, attached along one edge; a ruffle.W
    • 1977, Agatha Christie, chapter 4, in An Autobiography, part II, London: Collins, →ISBN:
      Mind you, clothes were clothes in those days. […]  Frills, ruffles, flounces, lace, complicated seams and gores: not only did they sweep the ground and have to be held up in one hand elegantly as you walked along, but they had little capes or coats or feather boas.
  2. The act of flouncing.

Derived terms[edit]