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From Latin frīvolus (silly, empty, trifling, frivolous, worthless), with the ending modified to match -ous.


  • IPA(key): /ˈfɹɪv.əl.əs/
  • Hyphenation: friv‧o‧lous
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frivolous (comparative more frivolous, superlative most frivolous)

  1. Silly, especially at an inappropriate time or in an inappropriate manner.
  2. Of little weight or importance; not worth notice; slight; trivial.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:insignificant
  3. (law, said of a lawsuit) Having no reasonable prospect of success because its claim is without merit, lacking a supporting legal or factual basis, while the filing party is, or should be, aware of this.
    • 1996 August 31, Paul F. Waldner, President-Elect, Houston Trial Lawyers Association, “Viewpoints”, in Houston Chronicle[1]:
      There is no easy definition for the phrase 'frivolous lawsuit,' but I imagine any claim for damages where the injuries are minimal or where the basis for the defendant's liability is hard to believe, might qualify as frivolous.
    • 2005,[2]:
      One of the major cost drivers in the delivery of health care are these junk and frivolous lawsuits.

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