flirt around

< Previous | Next >

lekal

Senior Member
Chinese
Dear friends,

“Ah, stop flirting around. Of course he is. I've got a source up there, one of the mothers, didn't you know? Tells me indiscretions for chocolate. Control's been toiling through personal dossiers of old Circus folk heroes, sniffing out the dirt,”

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
John Le Carre

What does "flirt around" mean?
 
  • Delvo

    Senior Member
    American English
    It might help to know that the word "flirt" has an older meaning which might be different from what you were taught that based on how it's most often used now. It's likely that non-native English speakers are first taught that it's about personal relationships: trying to hint to someone else that you're attracted to them or find out whether they are attracted to you. This was the only meaning I was aware of myself at first, and I'm a native Englisher.

    But it derives from an older, less narrow meaning that can still pop up from time to time. That was roughly "to move close to something (or someone) and then move away without quite touching it or crossing a boundary". For example, someone sailing a boat dangerously close to some rocks but not quite hitting them could be said to be flirting with those rocks.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    But it derives from an older, less narrow meaning that can still pop up from time to time. That was roughly "to move close to something (or someone) and then move away without quite touching it or crossing a boundary".
    Interesting. I always thought it was the other way round.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top