Frivolity vs. frivolousness

Frivolity means (1) silliness, (2) lightheartedness, or (3) a frivolous thing. Not all frivolous things are lighthearted or silly, but frivolity tends to carry these connotations. Frivolousness, which most often comes up in legal contexts, means the quality of being unworthy of serious attention. It does not have lighthearted connotations. In judicial proceedings, frivolousness wastes time.

Examples

Frivolousness

We further deny Mr. Freeman’s motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis in the instant action based on the frivolousness of his appeal and abuse of our judicial resources. [Leagle]

The Court noted four substantive requirements that distinguish an adverse credibility finding from a finding of frivolousness. [JD Supra]

Frivolity

Whatever the seeming frivolity of the day, it pivots on very serious business … [Wall Street Journal]

Is the iPad simply finger-tapping frivolity or can it unlock a new era of educational experiences? [Irish Times]

We love costumes, we love color, we love frivolity, and of course we love our dogs. [NOLA.com]

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