- flip-flop (n.)
- also flip flop, "plastic thong beach sandal," by 1970, imitative of the sound of walking in them. Flip-flap had been used in various senses, mostly echoic or imitative of a kind of loose flapping movement, since 1520s:
Flip-flaps, a peculiar rollicking dance indulged in by costermongers, better described as the double shuffle; originally a kind of somersault. [Hotten's Slang Dictionary, 1864]
Flip-flop in the general sense of "complete reversal of direction" dates from 1900; it began to be used in electronics in the 1930s in reference to switching circuits that alternate between two states. As a verb by 1897. Flop (n.) in the sense "a turn-round, especially in politics" is from 1880.