Do you want to know the meanings and uses of English words like “flip” and “flipside?” You’re in the right place! I’ll give you some examples of the words’ usual definitions as well as the slang definitions. We’ll also look at some examples in a dialogue with our buddy, Charles. You can find more of these dialogues and short stories using casual language in Adventures of Charles. I’ll also leave links for you to read more about these words if you’d like. Here we go.
This is one of those words that can have many meanings. You can flip a pancake, do a flip on the floor, a backflip in the other direction. You can flip things up and flip things down. As an action (verb), flipping something can mean making a profit from it. People use it more when talking about turning a smaller amount of money into a larger amount, or buying something with intention of selling it for more. People also use it to talk about making something with less value more valuable. This was commonly used to talk about selling drugs, but it’s now used for any activity of making a profit. You can “flip” clothing or houses, for example. There’s actually a show about flipping houses on the Home & Health channel. Flipping can also mean to suddenly change your opinion or to cheat someone. As far as being positive or negative, this word kind of goes both ways.
It was a wonderful day, just a beautiful day. Why? It was one of Charles’s very rare days off, of course. On his days off, he usually liked to stay up late, sleep late, and watch his turtles. He might eat at noon or he might eat at sunset. Who cared? It was his day off! Instead of doing those things, though, he decided to go and boast his day off to a friend he knew was working.
Charles — Hey, I’d like to order a coffee cake!
Ordering at the counter, he was happy to see that his friend, Jonah, was there to cater to him on the other side.
Jonah — Charlie? What are you doing here? You don’t have work?
Charles — Of course not! It’s my day off, so naturally I came here to gloat.
Jonah — You’re just mad cuz I’m flipping these cakes into some real dough.
- I’m making a profit, making money from baking these cakes.
Charles — Yeah, well if you stopped trying to flip over your boss, you might actually get somewhere with it. Do you even like baking?
- Trying to cheat your boss, taking advantage of him.
Jonah — No, but the bakers here before me were terrible. This place would’ve gone out of business if I hadn’t have flipped it. Here you go.
- If I hadn’t turned things around, made this place better.
Jonah hands his friend a freshly baked coffee cake. Yum!
Charles — Thanks, my dude. Ey, you haven’t seen Sheila here today, have you?
Jonah — That’s three sixty-five. No, why?
Charles — Oh, nothing. She was supposed to meet me here today, but I guess she flipped on me.
- I guess she changed her mind, decided not to come.
Now flip can also be used as a noun. When talking about a flip, one might be referring to a head-over-leg movement where they rotate their body over the ground. In slang, a flip can be the actual act of making a profit. Often, people express this by saying “make a flip” or “catch a flip.” It’s basically the noun version of the act of “flipping” above. Flip can also be a derogatory term describing a promiscuous woman, or at least a woman who the speaker thinks is promiscuous (I got to play it clean here, sorry). This comes from the idea that the woman “flips” (changes partners quickly) a lot or is “flipped” by different men. This use is not that important if you’re just learning English, though.
Jonah — Oh. Dang, bro, I’m sorry. She ain’t a flip, is she?
- She isn’t a sleazy girl, someone who sleeps around, is she?
Charles looks at his friend a bit confused and frowns.
Charles — What? You don’t mean …?
Jonah — Yeah?
Charles — No! No way, Sheila’s not like that. She records music a lot, so she gets stuck in her work sometimes.
Jonah — Ah okay. I hope so. You know you’re holding up my line, right?
Charles — My bad. Mmm! This cake is so good. I might have to start selling them myself.
Jonah — Hey! Don’t you start trying to make a flip off of my hard work.
- Don’t try to make a profit from my work, my product.
This one is pretty straightforward. The flipside just means “the other side.” People usually use it to mean after a situation is finished or after some event has passed. It’s often used in the phrase “Catch you on the flipside.” On occasion, one might say “on the flip” with this same meaning, taking out the “side.”
Charles — I promise I won’t. I’m too lazy to sell anything. That’s why I work in the theater and at the college.
The people in the line were getting impatient. Why was this immigrant guy taking so long to take his cake and leave?
Charles — Let me get out of here. I’ll see you on the flipside.
- I’ll see you later, after work, after a few days, after I do some things.
Jonah — Alright, catch you on the flip. And let me know if you hear from Sheila.
- I’ll see you next time, on the flipside.
Charles gave Jonah a nod and started to walk away. The customer said, “Finally!” and started to order his cake or bread or pastry. Just as he was leaving the bakery door, Charles had one last thing to say.
Charles — God! That man can make a cake!
In summary, “flip” is kind of a tricky word. Because of its history as being a word related to drugs or its use with women, it can be somewhat offensive if not used correctly. That one’s probably better to leave to native speakers to use and you can at least understand them, although you can challenge yourself if you like! It’s obviously not always bad, since it’s a common word for talking about making money or reselling something. “Flipside” is a very neutral word and you don’t have to feel weird at all for using it. I hope this has helped you understand the informal meanings of these terms.
Comment if you’ve heard these words before, know a different meaning, or want to practice using them. Here are some more definitions below if you’re interested. Until then, we’ll be talking later!
Some Other Definitions
Flip: [verb] to turn (something) over with a quick or intentional movement; [noun] a movement where an object or body turns over quickly or forcefully
Profit: [noun] a gain or earning in money, [verb] to make a gain or earning
Boast: [verb] to express too much pride in something about oneself
Cater to: [verb] to attend to or serve (someone)
Gloat: [verb] to express self-pride or admiration in an excessive or improper way
Promiscuous: [adjective] being highly sensual or overly sexual
Sleazy: [adjective] showing low moral values or loose behaviors, especially related to sex
Straightforward: [adjective] being easy to understand or do
Flipside: [noun] the other side or opposite end of something; another day
Pastry: [noun] dough used for making desserts like pies; a kind of dessert made from dough