trifle

noun
tri·​fle | \ ˈtrī-fəl How to pronounce trifle (audio) \

Definition of trifle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something of little value, substance, or importance
2 : a dessert typically consisting of plain or sponge cake often soaked with wine or spirits (such as brandy or rum) and topped with layers of preserves, custard, and cream
a trifle
: to some small degree : slightly a trifle annoyed

trifle

verb
trifled; trifling\ ˈtrī-​f(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce trifling (audio) \

Definition of trifle (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to treat someone or something as unimportant
b : to talk in a jesting or mocking manner or with intent to delude or mislead
2 : to handle something idly

transitive verb

: to spend or waste in trifling or on trifles

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from trifle

Verb

trifler \ ˈtrī-​f(ə-​)lər How to pronounce trifler (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for trifle

Verb

trifle, toy, dally, flirt, coquet mean to deal with or act toward without serious purpose. trifle may imply playfulness, unconcern, indulgent contempt. to trifle with a lover's feelings toy implies acting without full attention or serious exertion of one's powers. a political novice toying with great issues dally suggests indulging in thoughts or plans merely as an amusement. dallying with the idea of building a boat someday flirt implies an interest or attention that soon passes to another object. flirted with one fashionable ism after another coquet implies attracting interest or admiration without serious intention. companies that coquet with environmentalism solely for public relations

Examples of trifle in a Sentence

Noun

There's no reason to argue over such trifles. The money is a mere trifle to me.

Verb

do not trifle with me unless you mean to ask me to marry you spent a lazy afternoon trifling on the front porch
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Having come into the toy biz through that unorthodox channel, Forky is a trifle unclear about his role. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Toy Story 4' delivers another cinematic grand slam," 13 June 2019 The problem, in part, is that the penalties for misuse of the whip are trifle compared to a jockey’s financial incentives to improve his place in a race. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Horse racing should make whip violations more painful for jockeys," 10 June 2019 The waiters at the Musso & Frank Grill are like that — bossy and a trifle intimidating, softened by those fire-engine-red bolero jackets and all of those courtly manners. Michael Callahan, The Hollywood Reporter, "Musso & Frank Icon Sergio Gonzalez Served Stars From Sinatra to the Rolling Stones: "We Treat People Like Our Own Family"," 8 June 2019 Director Taylor brings just the right tongue-in-cheek touch to it all, but also manages to find within this trifle of a piece a depth in the characterizations that adds a welcome, if quite unexpected, emotional impact. Theodore P. Mahne, NOLA.com, "JPAS premieres 'Catch Me If You Can,' a criminally enjoyable hit," 17 Apr. 2018 Make sure the trifle sits for at least four hours before serving. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "This Christmas Trifle Recipe Is the Ultimate Make-Ahead Holiday Dessert," 12 Dec. 2018 Assemble the trifle: Scoop 1 cup of cream and set aside. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "This Christmas Trifle Recipe Is the Ultimate Make-Ahead Holiday Dessert," 12 Dec. 2018 There's clueless Rachel completely screwing up a recipe for trifle. Phoebe Robinson, Glamour, "Friends Thanksgiving Episodes Guide: List of the Best and Worst," 21 Nov. 2018 Measure height of 4- to 5-quart straight-sided trifle bowl. Good Housekeeping, "Raspberry-Almond Trifle," 2 Nov. 2011

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation. 3. David Roper, idahostatesman, "Finding the virtues to put yourself right with the Lord," 21 June 2018 The losers in this exchange were subsequently ignored, told that temporary wage assistance or retraining programs would paper over these trifling problems. David Dayen, The New Republic, "The Inevitable Death of Global Trade As We Know It," 12 July 2018 Jacksonville Jaguars: 11–5* The Jaguars defense is not to be trifled with. Jonathan Jones, SI.com, "Predicting Every NFL Team’s 2018 Season Record," 7 June 2018 But those who organized and attended last weekend’s March For Our Lives are not to be trifled with. Teresa M. Pelham, courant.com, "Mass Shooting Generation Armed with Ballots," 31 Mar. 2018 Luckily, on Wednesday Queen Elizabeth readily gave her consent in the form of a no-nonsense and not-to-be-trifled-with official letter. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "Meghan Markle & Prince Harry's Final Hurdle? The Queen's Consent," 15 Mar. 2018 At the time, Summitt, whose flinty-eyed visage on the magazine’s cover left no doubt that the founder of the Lady Vols’ Tennessee basketball empire was no one to trifle with, was in her prime. Erik Spanberg, The Christian Science Monitor, "'Basketball' is a fast-break compilation that goes from from the beginning to Stephen Curry," 12 Mar. 2018 The 49ers trifled with them during the regular season, and in San Diego. sandiegouniontribune.com, "Chargers headed for Super Bowl," 16 Jan. 2018 Nevertheless, the cold is nothing to trifle with, forecasters warned. CBS News, "Bitter cold could bring snow, ice to South, more misery elsewhere," 3 Jan. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of trifle

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1b

History and Etymology for trifle

Noun

Middle English trufle, trifle, from Anglo-French trufle, triffle fraud, trick, nonsense

Verb

Middle English truflen, triflen, from Anglo-French trufler to trick, talk nonsense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about trifle

Statistics for trifle

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trifle

The first known use of trifle was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for trifle

trifle

noun

English Language Learners Definition of trifle

: something that does not have much value or importance
: a dessert made of layers of cake, jam or jelly, and custard and topped with whipped cream

trifle

noun
tri·​fle | \ ˈtrī-fəl How to pronounce trifle (audio) \

Kids Definition of trifle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something of little value or importance

trifle

verb
trifled; trifling

Kids Definition of trifle (Entry 2 of 2)

: to treat (someone or something) as unimportant Robin … was the more muscular of the twins and not to be trifled with.— Susan Cooper, The Dark is Rising

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on trifle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with trifle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for trifle

Spanish Central: Translation of trifle

Nglish: Translation of trifle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of trifle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on trifle

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a device or gadget

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!