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trifle

[trahy-fuh l] /ˈtraɪ fəl/
noun
1.
an article or thing of very little value.
2.
a matter, affair, or circumstance of trivial importance or significance.
3.
a small, inconsiderable, or trifling sum of money.
4.
a small quantity or amount of anything; a little:
She's still a trifle angry.
5.
a literary, musical, or artistic work of a light or trivial character having no great or lasting merit; bagatelle.
6.
a kind of pewter of medium hardness.
7.
trifles, articles made of this.
8.
English Cookery. a dessert usually consisting of custard and cake soaked in wine or liqueur, and jam, fruit, or the like.
verb (used without object), trifled, trifling.
9.
to deal lightly or without due seriousness or respect:
Don't trifle with me!
10.
to play or toy by handling or fingering:
He sat trifling with a pen.
11.
to act or talk in an idle or frivolous way.
12.
to pass time idly or frivolously; waste time; idle.
verb (used with object), trifled, trifling.
13.
to pass or spend (time) idly or frivolously (usually followed by away).
Origin of trifle
1175-1225
1175-1225; (noun) Middle English tru(f)fle idle talk, deceit < Old French, variant of truf(f)e mockery, deceit; (v.) Middle English treoflen to mock < Old French trufler to make sport of
Related forms
trifler, noun
Synonyms
1. bauble, toy. 13. fritter.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for trifle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Do you think that I am one to trifle with your heart, or to use it as a plaything for me to triumph by?

    Julian Home Dean Frederic W. Farrar
  • The next thing was to borrow a trifle of what was passing through his hands.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • Charlotte, pull her foot just a trifle more, no—her toes should be up—so!

  • Any trifle will serve—a purse of gold, or even a jewelled goblet.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • "But the signora is my mother," said Natalie, perhaps with a trifle of impatience.

    Sunrise William Black
  • If he really meant to back the horse he would not have started with such a trifle.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • They do not let themselves be put out by such a trifle as that.

    Les Misrables Victor Hugo
  • Had she got the rouge a trifle brighter on one cheek than on the other?

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
British Dictionary definitions for trifle

trifle

/ˈtraɪfəl/
noun
1.
a thing of little or no value or significance
2.
a small amount; bit: a trifle more enthusiasm
3.
(Brit) a cold dessert made with sponge cake spread with jam or fruit, soaked in wine or sherry, covered with a custard sauce and cream, and decorated
4.
a type of pewter of medium hardness
5.
articles made from this pewter
verb
6.
(intransitive) usually foll by with. to deal (with) as if worthless; dally: to trifle with a person's affections
7.
to waste (time) frivolously
Derived Forms
trifler, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French trufle mockery, from trufler to cheat
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 trifle
n.

early 13c., trufle "false or idle tale," later "matter of little importance" (late 13c.), from Old French trufle "mockery," diminutive of truffe "deception," of uncertain origin.

v.

"treat lightly," 1520s, from trifle (n.). Related: Trifled; trifling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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