Thong or flip-flop

  • thong can be a piece of leather used as a lash of a whip or underwear for women that does not cover their behind. In the United States and some other English-speaking countries, it can also be a shoe that is held on by two straps that go between the big toe. This is normally used in the plural, thongs, when referring to the shoe.


    1 To 1 English native Teachers,  the best way to improve your English!
    Click here to find out more!

    Another name for this type of sandal is a flip-flop. Notice the hyphen in the spelling of flip-flop. A flip-flop can also be a reversal of an opinion. A person with lots of these reversals is sometimes called a flip-flopper.



    But the curvy model took things to a whole new level when she posted a snap showing off her bare bum in a thong. [Mirror]

    Everyone has to work hard to find the best underwear for them, but I know that thongs are not it for me. [Bustle]

    It’s laid-back, shorts-and-thongs territory and once ensconced you’ll do a lot of exploring on a pushbike (most rental bachs include a few bikes). [The Australian Financial Review]

    While the engagement with Pakistan was resumed during the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) meet in Nepal last year, the inevitable flip-flop over reviving the dialogue with our neighbour culminated in this embarrassing episode — of the tweets. [The Hindu]

    When and where are flip-flops an acceptable fashion choice in San Francisco, if ever at all? [SFist]



    1. In Hawaii they are often called go-heads (for go ahead) . . . because you can’t go backwards in them.

    2. Dave Williams says:

      Note that in the UK, “thong” refers almost exclusively to the underwear; so when Australians use it to refer to the footwear, we are often momentarily confused!

    3. kaylamcfly says:

      They can’t be used interchangeably, though, because, while a thong sandal is necessarily a flip-flop, a flip-flop isn’t necessarily a thong.

    4. Jojo Cheng says:

      I don’t know what you’re talking about. We never use thongs as a way to say flip-flops. Is it just New York or is this website wrong?

      • workingbythebay says:

        Growing up (in California), I never even heard anyone call them flip-flops; they were thongs. Now I don’t hear anyone call them thongs. Might be a generational thing? It’s also possible, when thong underwear became more prevalent, it became less confusing to call them flip-flops?

    5. Mike VanIn says:

      Regarding the sandals, the “flip-” prefix seems to be (correctly) coming into disuse – or it’s my cognitive bias speaking. “Flops” seems to be a perfectly sufficient onomatopoeia on its own and has been in my family, since shortly after they appeared in the ’70’s.

      • Being Aussie … the rubberised footwear are “thongs”. My Girl from Virginia calls them “flip flops”

        It is the same analogy as ” soft drink” is to “soda pop” . I have a shower ..she says “I will get a shower” .

        To me it is a service station… to Her it is a gas station

        Same as Pharmacy is to Drug Store
        It could go on and on. We know what we we are talking about so don’t get your knickers in a twist.
        Live life and be happy we are a bit different

        • Mike VanIn says:

          LOL! Relax, Dentuso. My knickers are quite comfortable. How you read any stress into my comment is a mystery – so I’ll put it down to your sensitivity in coming from a politically-correct community (I’m well acquainted with Oz sensitivities and the delicate nuances of ‘Strine colloquialisms).

          In the interests of good relationships, it seems that I must emphasise some aspects. If you read my comment a little slower, you’ll see two things that you appear to have overlooked:

          1. I declared an awareness of my cognitive bias.

          2. I mentioned no opinion about “thongs”. Please feel free to use the word as frequently as makes you happy.

          Yes, I’m still happy too. ;)

          Keep well!

    Speak Your Mind

    About Grammarist
    Contact | Privacy policy | Home
    © Copyright 2009-2014 Grammarist