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[jif-ee] /ˈdʒɪf i/
noun, plural jiffies. Informal.
a very short time; moment:
to get dressed in a jiffy.
Also, jiff [jif] /dʒɪf/ (Show IPA).
Origin of jiffy
1770-80; origin uncertain
instant, flash, second, trice. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for jiffy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Frightened beyond ability to shout the servant held up his hands, and was gagged in a jiffy and his hands tied behind his back.

    Dreamy Hollow Sumner Charles Britton
  • It doesn't matter; we'll break the door down in a jiffy, anyway.

    The Dare Boys of 1776 Stephen Angus Cox
  • Just dropped the mixture on the hot stone and in a jiffy the cake was done, nice and brown and crisp around the edges.

    The Shadow Mary White Ovington
  • The bottle was filled with kerosene, and in a jiffy the box was covered with the flame.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • What a lark, well be ready in a jiffy, and catching Lois by the arm she dragged her up stairs.

British Dictionary definitions for jiffy


noun (pl) jiffies, jiffs
(informal) a very short time: wait a jiffy
Word Origin
C18: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for jiffy

1785, "a moment, an instant," colloquial, origin unknown; said to be originally thieves' slang for "lightning."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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jiffy in Technology

1. The duration of one tick of the computer's system clock. Often one AC cycle time (1/60 second in the US and Canada, 1/50 most other places), but more recently 1/100 sec has become common.
2. Confusingly, the term is sometimes also used for a 1-millisecond wall time interval. Even more confusingly, physicists semi-jokingly use "jiffy" to mean the time required for light to travel one foot in a vacuum, which turns out to be close to one *nanosecond*.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Idioms and Phrases with jiffy


see under in a flash
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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