trifle

1 of 2

noun

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

trifle

2 of 2

verb

trifled; trifling ˈtrī-f(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce trifle (audio)

intransitive verb

1
a
: 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
trifler noun
Phrases
a trifle
: to some small degree : slightly
a trifle annoyed
Choose the Right Synonym for trifle

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Karen Shinto Plum and Wine Trifles Use juicy ripe plums in this trifle dessert for best results. Kara Peeler, Sunset Magazine, 5 June 2024 Desserts include cream puffs, eclairs, petit fours, tiramisu, a strawberry trifle martini, and apple or pecan pie. Elaine Rewolinski, Journal Sentinel, 26 Apr. 2024
Verb
This should tell you everything about how trifling these lists are. Remy Blumenfeld, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2019 The scorers of eight goals, while giving up a trifling one. Neal Rubin, Detroit Free Press, 24 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for trifle 

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

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near trifle

Cite this Entry

“Trifle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/trifle. Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

trifle

1 of 2 noun
tri·​fle ˈtrī-fəl How to pronounce trifle (audio)
1
: something of little value or importance
2
: a dessert of sponge cake spread with jam or jelly covered with a custard and whipped cream

trifle

2 of 2 verb
trifled; trifling -f(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce trifle (audio)
1
a
: to talk in a joking manner
b
: to treat someone or something as unimportant
2
: to waste (as time or money) in trifling or on trifles
3
: to handle something idly : toy
trifler noun

More from Merriam-Webster on trifle

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