nif·​ty | \ˈnif-tē \
niftier; niftiest

Definition of nifty 

(Entry 1 of 2)

informal : very good: such as

a : very attractive or appealing nifty clothes Jon Gnagy was an artist—you could tell this by the nifty goatee he wore …— Andy Meisler

b : very pleasant or enjoyable a nifty performance … this barrier isle off North Carolina's southernmost coast still provides a nifty getaway.— Spike Gillespie The Smithereens consistently present nifty, driving songs, quite involved by pop standards.— David Hiltbrand

c : very interesting or clever : ingenious a nifty device The museum's gift shop is well-stocked, complete with a nifty machine that, for $1, will crush a fresh penny into a copper medal bearing the likeness of T. Rex.— Carl Wayne Arrington Some investors are catching on to a nifty tax-saving trick allowable by Roth IRA rules.— Karen Hube

d : well-executed A fan leaned out of the stands and made a nifty grab of the ricochet, and received a nice round of applause.— George Vecsay


plural nifties

Definition of nifty (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is nifty especially : a clever or neatly turned phrase or joke

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Other Words from nifty


niftily \ˈnif-​tə-​lē \ adverb
Harrison is an upwardly mobile … young man with a wife, son and a niftily restored house in San Francisco. — John J. O'Connor

Examples of nifty in a Sentence


a nifty pair of shoes This nifty little machine can do just about anything.


though ostensibly a drama, the play is filled with zingy little nifties that lighten the mood that joke was a nifty
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

After a little creativity and some nifty DIYing, though, taking a seat at the table doesn't have to be either of those things. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "People Are Putting Swings In Their Kitchens And Dining Rooms—And They Look Amazing," 24 Oct. 2018 Last week the Journal’s Joe Flint and Andrew Beaton reported that ratings through the NFL season’s first five weeks were up 3%—not a giant number, but a nifty uptick at a moment where the numbers are plunging for basically everything on television. Jason Gay, WSJ, "The NFL Is Back. Nobody Tell Trump.," 15 Oct. 2018 The half-circle dining area in front of a window is also a nifty touch. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Tiny house channels the glamour of the theater," 4 Sep. 2018 The best Echo is also on sale, along with one of our personal favorite smoothie blenders, a dash cam, and a nifty little device to catch hairs in your shower drain. 1. Samantha Gordon, USA TODAY, "These are Amazon's 5 best deals right now," 3 Apr. 2018 Dickerson displayed tenacity and nifty footwork inside while racking up 16 of his game-high 18 points in the second half. Percy Allen, The Seattle Times, "Three takeaways from Washington’s 73-55 season-opening win over Western Kentucky," 7 Nov. 2018 Micro-drones are nifty little things: small, fast, and agile. James Vincent, The Verge, "Micro-drones with winches can open doors and lift 40 times their own weight," 24 Oct. 2018 For a less princess-like approach to style, but no less royal, there was Kate Middleton nifty spin in a Prince of Wales check frock from Erdem, and Cara Delevingne in a top hat and tails for day by Emporio Armani. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "10 Best Dressed: Week of October 15, 2018," 15 Oct. 2018 While the name may sound more like an iconic Flight of the Conchords moment than a nifty skin-care device, there's nothing silly about the Fofo. Karina Hoshikawa, Allure, "The Foreo Luna Fofo Might Be the Best Cleansing Brush I've Ever Tried," 4 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The lone goal of the match was scored by Inda-Felix, who put the ball in the lower left corner of the net following a nifty through pass from Mike Robles. Dave Mendonca, The Mercury News, "Willow Glen, Rose Garden: Lincoln boys open CCS soccer playoffs with back-to-back shutout wins," 2 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nifty.' 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 nifty


1865, in the meaning defined above


1918, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for nifty


origin unknown

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Statistics for nifty

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nifty

The first known use of nifty was in 1865

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More Definitions for nifty



English Language Learners Definition of nifty

: very good, useful, or attractive


nif·​ty | \ˈnif-tē \
niftier; niftiest

Kids Definition of nifty

: very unusual and attractive a nifty outfit

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More from Merriam-Webster on nifty

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nifty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nifty

Nglish: Translation of nifty for Spanish Speakers

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