American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Something of little importance or value.
- n. A small amount; a jot.
- n. A dessert typically consisting of plain or sponge cake soaked in sherry, rum, or brandy and topped with layers of jam or jelly, custard, and whipped cream.
- n. A moderately hard variety of pewter.
- n. Utensils made from this variety of pewter.
- v. To deal with something as if it were of little significance or value.
- v. To act, perform, or speak with little seriousness or purpose; jest.
- v. To play or toy with something: Don't trifle with my affections. See Synonyms at flirt.
- v. To waste (time or money, for example).
- idiom. a trifle Very little; somewhat: a trifle stingy.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A jest; a joke; a pleasantry.
- n. A trick; a fraud; a lie.
- n. An idle speech or tale; vain or foolish talk; twaddle; nonsense; absurdity.
- n. Anything of slight value or moment; a paltry matter; an insignificant fact, circumstance, object, amount, etc.: often used in the adverbial phrase a trifle: as, to feel a trifle annoyed.
- n. A dish or confection consisting mainly of whipped cream or some light substitute, as the beaten whites of eggs, and usually containing fruit or almonds, and cake or pastry soaked in wine or brandy.
- n. Common pewter, such as is used for ordinary utensils, composed of eighty parts of tin and twenty of lead.
- To jest; make sport; hence, to use mockery; treat something with derision, flippancy, or a lack of proper respect; often followed by with.
- To use trickery or deception; cheat; lie.
- To talk or act idly; busy one's self with trivial or useless things; act frivolously; waste one's time; dally; idle.
- To play, as by lightly handling or touching something; toy.
- To turn into jest or sport; hence, to treat lightly or flippantly; play with.
- To spend on trifles; pass idly or foolishly; waste; fritter: often followed by away.
- To utter or perform lightly or carelessly.
- To reduce to a trifle; make trivial or of no importance.
- n. An English dessert made from a mixture of thick custard, fruit, sponge cake, jelly and whipped cream.
- n. An insignificant amount.
- n. Anything that is of little importance or worth.
- n. A particular kind of pewter.
- n. uncountable utensils made from this particular kind of pewter.
- v. intransitive To deal with something as if it were of little importance or worth.
- v. intransitive To act, speak, or otherwise behave with jest.
- v. intransitive To inconsequentially toy with something.
- v. transitive To squander or waste.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A thing of very little value or importance; a paltry, or trivial, affair.
- n. A dish composed of sweetmeats, fruits, cake, wine, etc., with syllabub poured over it.
- v. To act or talk without seriousness, gravity, weight, or dignity; to act or talk with levity; to indulge in light or trivial amusements.
- v. obsolete To make of no importance; to treat as a trifle.
- v. To spend in vanity; to fritter away; to waste.
- v. consider not very seriously
- n. a detail that is considered insignificant
- v. act frivolously
- v. waste time; spend one's time idly or inefficiently
- n. a cold pudding made of layers of sponge cake spread with fruit or jelly; may be decorated with nuts, cream, or chocolate
- n. something of small importance
- Middle English trufle, trifle, from Old French trufle, mockery, diminutive of truffe, deception. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“I would have given my life willingly for what you call a trifle, sir," said the marquis, with a bow to Osra.”
“You can eat it as is, toast it, use it in trifle, to dip in chocolate fondue ... and probably a whole load of other things I haven't heard of.”
“The leftovers tasted great, but each time we removed the trifle from the fridge the layers had sunk further, as the ladyfingers absorbed more of the sauce and cream, which had additionally deflated, thereby creating a sunken, lopsided look.”
“A significant change from Chabon's weightier novels, this dazzling trifle is simply terrific fun.”
“In the Toast family, each trifle is different, and improvisation is encouraged.”
“A trifle is a very nice thing to have after a big dinner, for although it is quite rich and evil, it feels light going down.”
“Kids who love fairies will not be disappointed and kids who find the title a trifle silly will also find stuff in this book to love.”
“Here, boy," he called a trifle hoarsely, holding out his hand.”
“Well," he dryly gloomed at her, "what do you call a trifle?”
“I walked off to see N'yamasore, taking my blankets, a pillow, and some cooking-pots to make a day of it, and try to win the affections of the queen with sixteen cubits bindera, three pints peke, and three pints mtende beads, which, as Waganda are all fond of figurative language, I called a trifle for her servants.”
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