What does Lippy mean?



What do Angelina Jolie, Kerry Washington, Scarlett Johansson, Rihanna, Eva Mendes, Megan Fox, Adrianna Lima, Anne Hathaway, and Jennifer Hudson all have in common?

Of course, they are actresses and all famous. They are also considered to be beautiful people and share a common feature that some people find irresistible.

What if you heard a parent say to their teenage son: “Don’t get lippy with me?”  What do they mean?

Lippy has a couple of meanings and in some situations three different meanings. The first is to refer to people who have bug, full lips.

The actresses mentioned above all share full lips, and which are considered by some as part of what makes then beautiful and famous. Another is to refer to someone who might have lipstick on their teeth or face: “You got a little lippy on your teeth.”

The third, and by far the more common, is an idiomatic expression used to refer to someone who insolent and “gives back talk” to someone, usually someone of authority. We will look at this 3rd meaning. It is said that the word became known in about 1875.

Meaning of lippy:

When we use lippy as a idiomatic expression we are saying that someone is talking to others in a rude and disrespect manner.

Example of “Lippy”

  • Look young man, don’t get lippy with me!
  • Not only did she refuse to do the work, she also got lippy with the boss.


Brad: Bianca, did you hear about Silvia getting fired.

Bianca: No. I haven’t heard. I am not surprised though, she is often rude and insubordinate. What happened?

Brad: Well, we were in a meeting and she was asked to give an update on her part of the project. When she said that she didn’t time to complete the report, Mr. Bozee became visibly upset.

Bianca: Really? Mr. Bozze never loses his cool.

Brad: Yeah, then she got lippy and told Mr. Bozee she was tired of being picked on and told him to find someone else to do it if he was going to be so impatient.

Bianca: Oh my! What did Mr. Bozze say?

Brad: Well, he said: “Your right, thanks for letting me know. You can turn in your ID card and clean your desk out after the meeting.

Bianca: Yeah, getting lippy with the boss is not a good idea.

Other words you can create: noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc. (ex: mug – mugger)

















Don’t get lippy with me.

He has such a lippy attitude.

She is really lippy with her parents.

Related phrasal verbs:

Talk back

When you say someone is talking back we are describing someone who replies defiantly and in a disrespectful manner.

  • She is always talking back when asked to do something, I am not going to put up with her lippy attitude.

Come back

In the context of lippy this is a phrase we use to suggest that someone responds with an opinion in a rude and combative way.

  • His come backs are rude and he can be really lippy when he is corrected.

Back talk

When someone makes remarks that are insolent or rude to someone, usually to someone who is in an authority position.

  • The students have been warned that back talk and lippy responses will be dealt with suspensions.

Sound off

When someone sound offs we say that they are giving their opinion or counter argument in a rude and disrespectful manner.

  • I can’t believe she sounded off like that, she can be so lippy sometimes.

Related idioms:

Fire back at –to respond in a quick or immediate manner.

Be cheeky – when someone speaks in a disrespect manner to someone.

Lip off – speak withoutrestraint and in a continuous manner, usually in a rude manner.

Squawk – someone who speaking in a loud and forceful manner, usually in a disrespectful manner.

Make a stink –  in the context of lippy, it is someone who criticizes in a rude and disrespectful manner.

Smart-alecky – this is someone, in the context of lippy, says or responds to someone sarcastic and offensive manner.

Synonyms (other ways to say):

Lip off

Talk back

Back talk

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