9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[spif-ee] /ˈspɪf i/
adjective, spiffier, spiffiest. Informal.
spruce; smart; fine.
Also, spiffing
[spif-ing] /ˈspɪf ɪŋ/ (Show IPA).
especially British, spivvy, spivving.
Origin of spiffy
1855-60; dial. spiff well-dressed (origin uncertain) + -y1
Related forms
spiffily, adverb
spiffiness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for spiffy
  • spiffy sounding degree programs are a marketing ploy, not a mandate from industry.
  • And this won't be the company's last foray into spiffy data visualization.
  • The doormen also have spiffy, tan leather caps to match.
  • Maybe you've seen the spiffy new blue cars zipping around the testing grounds.
  • The restaurant displays a spiffy new hunter green marquee outside and a garden motif within.
  • It consists of a dozen well-built-in fact, quite spiffy-plank shacks on pilings.
  • It could be a vacation or that spiffy leather jacket, but reward yourself for managing your money effectively.
  • With the best intentions folks venture out to spiffy up the markers.
  • But great ideas and spiffy, new bells and whistles that sound good and look good may not perform when the chips are down.
  • There is always something invigorating about a spiffy new performance space.
British Dictionary definitions for spiffy


adjective -fier, -fiest
(US & Canadian, slang) smart; stylish
Derived Forms
spiffily, adverb
spiffiness, noun
Word Origin
C19: from dialect spiff
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 spiffy

1853, of uncertain origin, probably related to spiff "well-dressed man." Spiffing "excellent" was very popular in 1870s slang. Uncertain relationship to spiff (n.) "percentage allowed by drapers to their young men when they effect sale of old fashioned or undesirable stock" (1859), or to spiflicate "confound, overcome completely," a cant word from 1749 preserved in American English slang spiflicated "drunk," first recorded 1906 in O.Henry.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for spiffy



spiffy (1872+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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spiffy in Technology

/spi'fee/ 1. Said of programs having a pretty, clever, or exceptionally well-designed interface. "Have you seen the spiffy X version of empire yet?" This was common mainstream slang during the 1940s.
2. Said sarcastically of a program that is perceived to have little more than a flashy interface going for it. Which meaning should be drawn depends delicately on tone of voice and context.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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