\ ˈfīf How to pronounce fife (audio) \

Definition of fife

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small transverse flute with six to eight finger holes and usually no keys


geographical name
\ ˈfīf How to pronounce Fife (audio) \
variants: or Fifeshire \ -​ˌshir How to pronounce Fifeshire (audio) , -​shər \

Definition of Fife (Entry 2 of 2)

administrative area of eastern Scotland between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth area 509 square miles (1319 square kilometers), population 365,198

Examples of fife in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Performers included unicyclists from The Gym Dandies Children’s Circus in Scarborough, Maine, and the Mattatuck Drum Band, the oldest fife and drum corps in the nation. Grace Dickinson,, "With pomp, pageantry and a parade, Philly celebrates the Fourth of July," 4 July 2018 Visitors also can enjoy games, historic cannon fire, a traditional fife and drum parade and food concessions. Lauryn Azu, Detroit Free Press, "5 towns where you can celebrate the Fourth of July in a big way," 27 June 2018 Photo: franck fife/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images France (7) France is, as ever, the World Cup’s moody artist. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "World Cup 2018: A Guide to Every Team," 12 June 2018 Performances will range from banjo music, to the fife and drum, to African-American songs and stories provided by Washington, D.C.-based Jubilee Voices. Cody Boteler,, "Banneker Historical Park and Museum to host annual 'Colonial Market Fair'," 8 June 2018 The museum holds a number of artifacts from the Willard era, including a drum used as a model for the original painting and a fife from the same period. Michael Sangiacomo,, "'Spirit of '76' creator's artwork featured in rare display in Wellington," 12 Apr. 2018 For the first official state visit of his presidency, Mr. Trump hosted a traditional arrival ceremony on the South Lawn, complete with military bands, color guards, a fife-and-drum corps and a 21-gun salute. Peter Baker And Julie Hirschfeld Davis, New York Times, "Trump Signals Openness to a ‘New Deal’ to Constrain Iran," 24 Apr. 2018 Instruction is provided for fife, snare and bass drum as well as marching. Courant Community, "Community News For The Wethersfield Edition," 3 Apr. 2018 In 1778, during the Revolutionary War, a group of soldiers surprised their commander in chief by playing fife and drums outside his quarters at Valley Forge. Lillian Cunningham, Washington Post, "How presidents spent their birthdays," 18 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fife.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fife


1539, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fife


German Pfeife pipe, fife, from Old High German pfīfa, from Vulgar Latin *pipa pipe — more at pipe

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Dictionary Entries near fife

fiesta flower


fi fa




fife rail

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Time Traveler for fife

The first known use of fife was in 1539

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English Language Learners Definition of fife

: a musical instrument that looks like a small flute


\ ˈfīf How to pronounce fife (audio) \

Kids Definition of fife

: a small musical instrument like a flute that produces a shrill sound

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More from Merriam-Webster on fife

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fife

Spanish Central: Translation of fife

Nglish: Translation of fife for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about fife

Comments on fife

What made you want to look up fife? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a shady place in a garden or forest

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