\ˈtif \

Definition of tiff 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a petty quarrel


tiffed; tiffing; tiffs

Definition of tiff (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to have a petty quarrel

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Examples of tiff in a Sentence


got into a little tiff about what color sheets to buy for their bed


like any couple, they occasionally tiff, but it's never anything serious

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The first disappointment for liberals came in Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the tiff over whether Jack Phillips, a Christian baker, had the right to refuse to bake a cake celebrating the nuptials of two men. The Economist, "Justice Kennedy is retiring. What happens now?," 30 June 2018 Rey started working at the restaurant in October 2015 and received positive reviews from customers, but there were also several tiffs with his managers and co-workers. Sean Rossman, USA TODAY, "A Canadian restaurant fired this waiter for being rude. He says he's just French," 28 Mar. 2018 The day's action was reminiscent of April 4, when stocks plunged at the opening bell on worries about a possible tariff tiff between the United States and China only to end the day higher. Stan Choe, USA TODAY, "US stocks and bond yields dip amid trade worries with China," 15 June 2018 The tiff concerns a multilateral effort to phase out hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: Republicans can't agree on this climate deal brokered by Obama," 12 July 2018 So roughly this $13 billion trade tiff is full on between the U.S. and Canada. Fox News, "Ari Fleischer: Trump wanted a trade war, he's getting one," 3 July 2018 What Wall Street is worried about now: Escalation of trade tiffThere appears to be no signs of either side in the trade dispute giving in. Adam Shell, USA TODAY, "Dow dives as trade war angst boosts investor anxiety over growth, earnings," 25 June 2018 On June 4th, by a vote of 7-2, an unusual array of justices dispatched just such a tiff without providing much guidance for similar conflicts brewing in the lower courts. The Economist, "The Supreme Court’s artful dodge over gay wedding cakes," 5 June 2018 In a response that smacked of petty political opportunism, Trump disinvited the team, and in doing so, portrayed the tiff as a referendum on the national anthem, a centuries-old song whose lyrics many Americans don’t even know. Solomon Jones, Philly.com, "Dear President Trump, leave the Eagles and their long-suffering fans out of your political theater | Solomon Jones," 5 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Yes, everything is all roses until money tiffs surface. Tanisha Sykes, USA TODAY, "Are you financially compatible with your mate? Here are 5 ways to find out.," 5 Feb. 2018 Democrats, who are in the midst of their own political tug-of-war between progressives and centrists, have not yet been able to translate the Republican scandals and Trump tiffs into convincing wins. Karen Tumulty, Washington Post, "The GOP inherits what Trump has wrought," 26 May 2017 Good luck to TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey, who will be the one with the difficult task of saying no to filmmakers. Rebecca Keegan, HWD, "Finally a Solution to Hollywood’s Gender Problems?," 23 Feb. 2017

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


1754, in the meaning defined above


1700, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tiff


origin unknown

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Learn More about tiff

Statistics for tiff

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tiff

The first known use of tiff was in 1700

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More Definitions for tiff



English Language Learners Definition of tiff

: a small fight or argument about something that is not important


\ˈtif \

Kids Definition of tiff

: a minor quarrel

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Comments on tiff

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


playful or foolish behavior

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