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 The book has trouble doing much more with her as a character, perhaps because Hiaasen sees the real first lady as trifle-proof, but more likely because his options are limited. Janet Maslin, New York Times, "A Python Ate the President’s Neighbor? Only in Carl Hiaasen’s Florida," 29 Aug. 2020 Break out the foosball table, the holiday armadillo, the traditional English trifle, and the smelly cats. Glamour, "The Friends Reunion Is Really Happening—Here’s Everything We Know," 7 July 2020 Chalk them up as quibbles: Watching at home, the audience response can at times be a trifle distracting. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Hamilton' at home: Disney+ gives fans a front-row seat worth waiting for," 30 June 2020 For a fancier treat, try going the Italian way and make this quick affogato trifle recipe for dessert tonight. Katlyn Moncada, Better Homes & Gardens, "All You Need Is Ice Cream and Your Keurig to Make a Creamy ‘Latte’," 12 May 2020 Breakout the foosball table, the holiday armadillo, the traditional English trifle, and the smelly cats. Glamour, "The Friends Reunion Is Really Happening—Here’s Everything We Know," 13 May 2020 Brunch includes a yogurt trifle with house granola and fresh berries as a starter. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "These restaurants are offering special Mother's Day take-out options," 6 May 2020 D’Amico also recommends that people make a cassata cake trifle to complete the meal. Alex Darus, cleveland, "What to make mom for Mother’s Day? Michael Symon, Matt Fish and other Northeast Ohio chefs offer tips," 4 May 2020 While the timing is nobody's fault, that internal struggle can't help but feel a trifle unfortunate at the current moment. Brian Lowry, CNN, "Kenya Barris goes from 'Black-ish' to '#blackAF' with his messy Netflix debut," 16 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Of course, for the heavily black work force in and around Detroit that can’t retreat to a vacation home, such an inconvenience is trifling by comparison. Jonathan Martin, New York Times, "Gretchen Whitmer Isn’t Backing Down," 18 Apr. 2020 But these are trifling compared to the headaches caused by street protests. Max De Haldevang, Quartz, "Coronavirus has crippled global protest movements," 1 Apr. 2020 But given the attention his company has been getting from the government, the strict confidentiality employees willingly stick to, and the small early demos depicted, Amaya is clearly not to be trifled with. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Starring Nick Offerman as bearded tech-bro enigma, FX’s Devs has a lot going on," 6 Mar. 2020 The pair enjoy spreading the word about the cook who fed the wranglers and wasn’t one to be trifled with. Vincent T. Davis, ExpressNews.com, "Chuck wagon cook rustles up Old West chow at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo," 15 Feb. 2020 But California’s relatively trifling ceiling can add up quickly for firms with thousands of users. The Economist, "The data sheriffs Companies should take California’s new data-privacy law seriously," 18 Dec. 2019 But over the last week, such worries have come to feel almost trifling, as Mississippi’s state prisons have exploded with gang warfare, riots, disorder and killing. Richard Fausset, BostonGlobe.com, "‘A bloodbath’: 5 dead as gang violence rocks Mississippi prisons," 9 Jan. 2020 Pairing Smith with Fitzgerald Mofor on the outside has proven an effective move and Kris Moll and Noah Wilder’s presence in the middle is one with which not to trifle. Evan Dudley, al, "5 takeaways from UAB’s 33-14 victory over UTSA," 15 Oct. 2019 The guild has insisted that the solidarity and resolve its members have shown in the agency fight sends a signal to the studios, too, that writers are newly energized and not to be trifled with. Jonathan Handel, The Hollywood Reporter, "Writers Guild Reveals Studio Negotiating Committee Amid Agency Fight," 8 Nov. 2019

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

Time Traveler for trifle

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for trifle

Last Updated

9 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Trifle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/trifle. Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for trifle

trifle

noun
How to pronounce trifle (audio)

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

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

Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
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!