from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th 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.
  • intransitive v. To deal with something as if it were of little significance or value.
  • intransitive v. To act, perform, or speak with little seriousness or purpose; jest.
  • intransitive v. To play or toy with something: Don't trifle with my affections. See Synonyms at flirt.
  • transitive v. To waste (time or money, for example).
  • idiom a trifle Very little; somewhat: a trifle stingy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • 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. utensils made from this particular kind of pewter.
  • v. To deal with something as if it were of little importance or worth.
  • v. To act, speak, or otherwise behave with jest.
  • v. To inconsequentially toy with something.
  • v. To squander or waste.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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.
  • intransitive v. To act or talk without seriousness, gravity, weight, or dignity; to act or talk with levity; to indulge in light or trivial amusements.
  • transitive v. To make of no importance; to treat as a trifle.
  • transitive v. To spend in vanity; to fritter away; to waste.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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. 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.

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

  • 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


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

Middle English trufle, trifle, from Old French trufle, mockery, diminutive of truffe, deception.



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  • I always makes me think of Susan Glaspell.

    January 6, 2011

  • found in Merriam Webster's Dictionary pg 84

    November 15, 2010