(Slang) A male homosexual. Known historic usages of this word include in The American Thesaurus of Slang by Lester V. Berrey, Melvin Van den Bark, et al., in 1942 ("Effeminate man,...Fauntleroy, flit, fuddyduddy" and "Male homosexual,...flit, four-letter man, fruit, fruitery"); in J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in 1951 ("Sometimes it was hard to believe, the people he said were flits and lesbians."); and in E. Lacy's Pity Honest in 1964 ("'Could he have been on the flit side?' 'Doubt that,...not that I'm any authority on queers.'").

An insecticide from the 1920's, sold in a yellow can with a black band. Around 1927 they hired one Ted Geisel to draw advertising cartoons for them. The cartoons were extremely popular, and their slogan, "Quick, Henry! The Flit!" became incredibly popular.

Flit (?), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Flitted (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Flitting (?).] [OE. flitten, flutten, to carry away; cf. Icel. flytja, Sw. flytta, Dan. flytte. 84. Cf. Fleet, v. i.]

1.

To move with celerity through the air; to fly away with a rapid motion; to dart along; to fleet; as, a bird flits away; a cloud flits along.

A shadow flits before me. Tennyson.

2.

To flutter; to rove on the wing.

Dryden.

3.

To pass rapidly, as a light substance, from one place to another; to remove; to migrate.

It became a received opinion, that the souls of men, departing this life, did flit out of one body into some other. Hooker.

4.

To remove from one place or habitation to another.

[Scot. & Prov. Eng.]

Wright. Jamieson.

5.

To be unstable; to be easily or often moved.

And the free soul to flitting air resigned. Dryden.

 

© Webster 1913.


Flit, a.

Nimble; quick; swift. [Obs.] See Fleet.

 

© Webster 1913.

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