Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A fit of irritation.
  • n. A petty quarrel.
  • intransitive v. To quarrel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small argument; a petty quarrel.
  • v. To quarrel.
  • v. To deck out; to dress.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Liquor; especially, a small draught of liquor.
  • n. A fit of anger or peevishness; a slight altercation or contention. See Tift.
  • intransitive v. To be in a pet.
  • transitive v. To deck out; to dress.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To dress; deck; array.
  • To sip; drink.
  • To lunch.
  • To be in a pet; be peevish or quarrelsome.
  • n. A local name for the calcite occurring with the zinc and lead deposits of Joplin, Missouri.
  • n. Set; attitude.
  • n. A draught of liquor; a “drop”: as, a tiff of brandy.
  • n. Thin or small beer.
  • n. A petty quarrel or misunderstanding; a slight pet, or fit of peevishness.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a quarrel about petty points

Etymologies

Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English tiffen, Old French tiffer, tifer, to bedizen; compare D. tippen to clip the points or ends of the hair, English tip (noun). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The word tiff in connection with her tale had a peculiar savour, a paralysing effect.

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  • She called the tiff between Steele and Rush Limbaugh a "Republican Horror Show."

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  • "We won't reveal our weapon as of now, but Sonny Boy is ready to rumble," said Aljoe Jaro, whose other protege, North American Boxing Federation (NABF) super bantamweight champion Bernabe Concepcion (26-1, 15 KOs), will also fight Giovannie Caro (11-4, 9 KOs, 2 draws) on the same day in a 10-round non-title tiff in San Diego, California.

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  • I mean, you know, we thought maybe they'd been involved in some kind of scuffle, maybe that kind of thing that some people would relatively refer to as a tiff or something.

    CNN Transcript Mar 5, 2009

  • On to the Hillary-Obama Iraq tiff, which is a lot of noise about nothing:

    Hillary and Obama on Iraq Decoded - Swampland - TIME.com

  • The tiff was the subject of a viewer call in poll and somthing like 70 percent of viewers who responded felt Betty was "spot on" on her comments to Marcel.

    Was Top Chef Episode Three "Craveable?"

  • But if both had good reasons for putting the dispute behind them-the Governor because he was going to lose, the Mayor because he needs other favors from the Governor-the tiff was a sign of just how isolated Mr. Pataki has become.

    Axes and Taxes Putting Pataki Into a Free Fall

  • A tiff was the result of the dispute between the two.

    The American Claimant

  • Jeff, that would maybe make me happiest of all. tiff, that is surely what it looked like.

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  • The only mention of the 'tiff' I've heard before was when I was told on election night that Craig was working out how his majority was the largest of all -- and I was told that by Cllr Selwood ...

    A two-horse race in Oxford East

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