The Meaning of Frivolous: What It Is and How To Use It

What does the word frivolous mean, and how can this word be used in conversation? This article covers everything about the meaning of frivolous.

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Frivolous is a commonly used adjective, but what does it mean, and how can we use it? This article will cover a plethora of information about the word frivolous, including its origin, synonyms and antonyms, and translations.

What Does the Word Frivolous Mean?

According to Collins Dictionary of the English Language, frivolous is an adjective that means having a lack of seriousness, little weight, or unbecoming levity. It can also refer to an activity that is wasteful or lacks use. Many things can be frivolous, including a frivolous remark, a frivolous suggestion, a frivolous complaint, and more.

What Is the Origin of Frivolous?

According to the dictionary, the word frivolous has been used since Late Middle English and comes from the Latin frīvolus, from the Latin friāre meaning to crumble. The pronunciation of frivolous is ˈfrɪvələs.

How Can We Use Frivolous in a Sentence?

Frivolous can be used in a variety of sentences and is a great word to add to your vocabulary. If you think that something is silly and lighthearted or useless and wasteful, you can describe it as frivolous. 

Take a look at these example sentences that contain the word frivolous, and then try coming up with examples of your own!

Example 1: A Frivolous Lawsuit

The defendants felt that it was frivolous litigation and that the negligence of the prosecutor caused the issue. They felt that the frivolous lawsuit came at an inappropriate time and in an inappropriate manner.

Example 2: Frivolous and Fun Activities

She always filled her weekends with things she enjoyed, even if it was a frivolous activity. She enjoyed window shopping and reading a novel with no serious purpose.

Example 3: A Frivolous Argument

The frivolous argument took over the serious discussion of coronavirus policy and did not lead to the sensible treatment of the issues.

Example 4: Frivolous Topics of Conversation

He was not amused by the frivolous family chatter or trivialities and preferred to discuss important matters worthy of serious notice. His family thought he was a real buzzkill. 

Example 5: Frivolous Behavior

The frivolous conduct in the church was highly inappropriate. The priest reprimanded the children for their undue levity. He wanted their serious attention and felt they treated the church with little value.

What Are Translations of Frivolous?

The word frivolous can also be found in different languages to describe things that are silly or useless. If you are planning to discuss the concept of frivolity with someone who does not speak English, you can reference this list of translations of frivolous from Nice Translator.

If you look closely, you may notice that many of the below translations of frivolous look and sound similar to the word frivolous itself. These are called cognates. Cognates of frivolous are formed when other words have the same root word as frivolous, which is what causes them to look and sound similar. 

  • Marathi: निरुपयोगी
  • French: frivole
  • Basque: fribolous
  • Korean: 천박한
  • Czech: povrchní
  • Swedish: lättsinnig
  • Welsh: gwamal
  • Slovak: frivolný
  • Japanese: 軽薄
  • Croatian: neozbiljan
  • Finnish: kevyesti
  • Urdu: فریب
  • German: frivol
  • Turkish: Alçakça
  • Dutch: frivool
  • Hungarian: frivol
  • Chinese (PRC): 轻浮
  • Arabic: تافهة
  • Thai: เหลาะแหละ
  • Ukrainian: легковажний
  • Gujarati: ભયભીત
  • Catalan: frívol
  • Portuguese (Portugal): frívolo
  • Serbian: неозбиљан
  • Hebrew: קַל דַעַת
  • Slovenian: neresni
  • Russian: роскошный
  • Lithuanian: Frivoliškas
  • Indonesian: sembrono
  • Greek: επιπόλαιος
  • Latvian: vieglprātīgs
  • Amharic: መጥፎ
  • Vietnamese: phù phiếm.
  • Spanish: frívolo
  • Tamil: அற்பமான
  • Estonian: frivolous
  • Polish: frywolny
  • Italian: frivolo
  • Malayalam: നിസ്സാരമായ
  • Kannada: ನಿಷ್ಪ್ರಯೋಜಕ
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 輕浮
  • Bulgarian: несериозно
  • Hindi: तुच्छ
  • Filipino: hindi gaanong mahalaga
  • Romanian: frivol
  • Portuguese (Brazil): frívolo

What Are Synonyms of the Word Frivolous?

Since frivolous can have a negative connotation, it can be useful to know synonyms in case you are trying to talk about something that is lighthearted or silly in a positive way. These synonyms of the word frivolous from Power Thesaurus may be very useful.

  • airy
  • birdbrained
  • capricious
  • careless
  • childish
  • ditzy
  • dizzy
  • empty
  • empty-headed
  • facetious
  • fatuous
  • featherbrained
  • fickle
  • flighty
  • flimsy
  • flip
  • flippant
  • flyaway
  • foolish
  • footling
  • frothy
  • futile
  • gay
  • giddy
  • glib
  • goofy
  • harebrained
  • idiotic
  • idle
  • immaterial
  • inane
  • inconsequential
  • inconsiderable
  • inferior
  • insignificant
  • insubstantial
  • irrelevant
  • irresponsible
  • jocular
  • jokey
  • light
  • light-minded
  • lighthearted
  • lightweight
  • little
  • meaningless
  • minor
  • negligible
  • niggling
  • not serious
  • nugatory
  • paltry
  • peripheral
  • petty
  • piddling
  • playful
  • pointless
  • puerile
  • scatterbrained
  • senseless
  • shallow
  • silly
  • skittish
  • slight
  • small
  • stupid
  • superficial
  • thoughtless
  • time-wasting
  • trifling
  • trivial
  • unimportant
  • unnecessary
  • unserious
  • vacuous
  • vain
  • vapid
  • volatile
  • whimsical
  • worthless

What Are Antonyms of the Word Frivolous?

Power Thesaurus also provides several words that mean the opposite of the word frivolous. If you are trying to discuss things that are serious or have weight to them, you can reference this list of antonyms. Learning antonyms of a word that you know the definition of is a great way to quickly grow your vocabulary. 

  • big deal
  • capital
  • cardinal
  • central
  • chief
  • clever
  • consequential
  • considerable
  • core
  • critical
  • crucial
  • decisive
  • dominant
  • earnest
  • eminent
  • essential
  • far-reaching
  • foremost
  • fundamental
  • grand
  • grave
  • great
  • important
  • influential
  • key
  • leading
  • main
  • major
  • material
  • mature
  • meaningful
  • momentous
  • of great consequence
  • outstanding
  • paramount
  • pivotal
  • principal
  • prominent
  • sedate
  • sensible
  • serious
  • shrewd
  • significant
  • sober
  • solemn
  • staid
  • substantial
  • supportive
  • thoughtful
  • titanic
  • uppermost
  • vital
  • weighty
  • wise


The word frivolous is an adjective used to describe things that are lighthearted, silly, wasteful, or useless. This word has a negative connotation and is often used to criticize a lack of seriousness. The word frivolous is very common and useful word to add to your vocabulary!


  1. Frivolous synonyms – 1 180 Words and Phrases for Frivolous | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Frivolous antonyms – 999 Opposites of Frivolous | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Frivolous Definition & Meaning |
  4. Frivolous definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary  
  5. Frivolous | Nice Translator