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noun tri·fle \ˈtrī-fəl\

Simple Definition of trifle

  • : something that does not have much value or importance

  • : a dessert made of layers of cake, jam or jelly, and custard and topped with whipped cream

Full Definition of trifle

  1. 1 :  something of little value, substance, or importance

  2. 2 :  a dessert typically consisting of plain or sponge cake often soaked with wine or spirits (as brandy or rum) and topped with layers of preserves, custard, and cream

a trifle
  1. :  to some small degree :  slightly <a trifle annoyed>

Examples of trifle

  1. There's no reason to argue over such trifles.

  2. The money is a mere trifle to me.

Origin of trifle

Middle English trufle, trifle, from Anglo-French trufle, triffle fraud, trick, nonsense

First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with trifle



verb tri·fle

Definition of trifle

tri·fledtri·fling play \-f(ə-)liŋ\

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1a :  to talk in a jesting or mocking manner or with intent to delude or misleadb :  to treat someone or something as unimportant

  3. 2 :  to handle something idly

  4. transitive verb
  5. :  to spend or waste in trifling or on trifles

tri·fler play \-f(ə-)lər\ noun

Examples of trifle

  1. <do not trifle with me unless you mean to ask me to marry you>

  2. <spent a lazy afternoon trifling on the front porch>

Origin of trifle

Middle English truflen, triflen, from Anglo-French trufler to trick, talk nonsense

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of trifle

trifle, toy, dally, flirt, coquet mean to deal with or act toward without serious purpose. trifle may imply playfulness, unconcern, indulgent contempt <to trifle with a lover's feelings>. toy implies acting without full attention or serious exertion of one's powers <a political novice toying with great issues>. dally suggests indulging in thoughts or plans merely as an amusement <dallying with the idea of building a boat someday>. flirt implies an interest or attention that soon passes to another object <flirted with one fashionable ism after another>. coquet implies attracting interest or admiration without serious intention <companies that coquet with environmentalism solely for public relations>.

Seen and Heard

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February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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