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

College Park’s best chance to score late came after Joseph Magallanez made a nifty move in the 46th minute. Matt Szabo,, "Daily Pilot Cup: Davis edges College Park," 1 June 2018 Saad made it 2-0 with a nifty move to his backhand in front at 17:17. Jay Cohen, Houston Chronicle, "Emergency goalie pressed into action in Blackhawks win," 29 Mar. 2018 Darius Moss stretched the advantage to five points with nifty move under the basket., "AAAAAAA Boys: No. 8 Peachtree Ridge 54, No. 9 Collins Hill 49," 13 Jan. 2018 Yet Victor Glemaud, a 2017 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, who’s a pretty nifty designer of inventive, colorful knits, is going to use his trip for his next presentation, currently envisaged for this coming June. Mark Holgate, Vogue, "Designer Victor Glemaud Returned Home to Haiti With the Clinton Foundation—And Photographed the Trip for Vogue," 30 Mar. 2018 Sonic tractor beams are pretty nifty applications of modern science and engineering. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Build Your Own Sonic Tractor Beam," 3 Jan. 2017 The turbo models like this also eschew the old six-speed gearbox in favor of a nifty new nine-speed. Al Haas,, "Refreshed for 2019, Buick Envision is roomy, comfortable, and quiet," 12 July 2018 Riddle’s RBI triple in the sixth inning plated the first run of the game, and a nifty slide from Riddle gave Miami a two-run lead. Matthew Defranks,, "JT Riddle's big day backs Jose Ureña's return to rotation in Marlins win," 4 July 2018 Those are nifty bookends to Dallas’ 2018-19 season, which could be Nowitzki’s final year in the league. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "Mavericks believe European sensation Luka Doncic can be a cornerstone like Dirk Nowitzki," 22 June 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

23 Sep 2018

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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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Comments on nifty

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


one that holds something together

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