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.

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]


Check Your Text


  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.

    • Dentuso says:

      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!

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