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pif·​fle ˈpi-fəl How to pronounce piffle (audio)
piffled; piffling ˈpi-f(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce piffle (audio)

intransitive verb

: to talk or act in a trivial, inept, or ineffective way


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: trivial nonsense
pseudo-scientific piffle

Example Sentences

Noun His story is complete piffle. the belief that soda is made out of acid is just piffle
Recent Examples on the Web
The Ritz, a smart London hotel where Margaret Thatcher spent her last days, is in fine fettle, turning a neat annual profit and valued in the region of £800m—not bad for a property bought for a piffling £75m in 1995. The Economist, 31 Oct. 2019
People who are too cowardly to put their names behind their allegations are hiding in the shadows, using the anonymity of dark money laws to try to raise doubts in the minds of voters by spreading inflammatory charges that amount to piffle. cleveland, 12 Sep. 2021 The whole story now seems like so much piffle, except for the sons who lost their mother and a princess who lost her life. John Anderson, WSJ, 7 Oct. 2021 It’s a not-quite-living imitation of a movie, a self-parody that lacks even a touch of humor—because, at the slightest sting of wit, its entire membrane of fakery would burst and leave hardly a piffle of vapor behind. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 18 Mar. 2021 The fact that all those involved in discussing this question have heads full of tosh and piffle does not make for productive debates. Salman Rushdie, The New Yorker, 16 Nov. 2020 Though often dismissed as superstitious piffle, ghosts have proved surprisingly durable. The Economist, 28 Oct. 2017 This is music for thinking adults, a welcome antidote to the puerile piffle that currently dominates the airwaves. Randy Lewis, latimes.com, 4 Aug. 2017 And how much nicer a sentence that is than all that life-ruining piffle about the atopic character of literary space, an indigestible confection that deserves to be tossed from one of Loving’s trains, to languish by the wayside forever. Simon Winchester, New York Times, 1 June 2016 Rihanna’s involvement in this piece of joyful piffle is a sign of a few important trends in pop. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 5 July 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'piffle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



perhaps blend of piddle and trifle

First Known Use


1847, in the meaning defined above


1890, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of piffle was in 1847

Dictionary Entries Near piffle

Cite this Entry

“Piffle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/piffle. Accessed 9 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


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