tri·​fling ˈtrī-f(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce trifling (audio)
: lacking in significance or solid worth: such as
: frivolous
trifling talk
: trivial
a trifling gift
chiefly dialectal : lazy, shiftless
a trifling fellow

Examples of trifling in a Sentence

a trifling sum of money deciding what you want to do for a living is no trifling matter
Recent Examples on the Web And yet the movie’s insularity feels trifling and empty. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Feb. 2024 The cost to find these answers, even in the near term, is relatively trifling. Phil Plait, Scientific American, 30 Oct. 2023 Aside from bacteria, the smallest genome belongs to the intestinal parasite Encephalitozoon intestinalis, with a trifling 2.3 billion base pairs. Kirsten Weir, Discover Magazine, 12 June 2011 Growing immunity against the coronavirus, repeatedly reinforced by vaccines and infections, could eventually tame COVID into a sickness as trifling as the common cold or, at worst, one on par with the seasonal flu. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 15 Dec. 2022 Specific as Ozon’s approach here may be (nothing feels accidental or arbitrary), his lovingly made curio, which often borrows verbatim from its predecessor, comes off a bit tired and trifling. Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2022 Bonus: these tweets are usually about the most trifling and hilarious pop culture moments, so ... win win! Danielle Young, The Root, 2 June 2017

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

Word History

First Known Use

1535, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of trifling was in 1535

Dictionary Entries Near trifling

Cite this Entry

“Trifling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: having little meaning or seriousness : frivolous
trifling talk
: of little value
a trifling sum

More from Merriam-Webster on trifling

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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