English edit

A raspberry trifle (1).

Etymology edit

From Middle English trifle, trifel, triful, trefle, truyfle, trufful, from Old French trufle (mockery), a byform of trufe, truffe (deception), of uncertain origin.

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /ˈtɹaɪfəl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪfəl
  • Hyphenation: tri‧fle

Noun edit

trifle (countable and uncountable, plural trifles)

  1. (cooking) An English dessert made from a mixture of thick custard, fruit, sponge cake, jelly and whipped cream.
    Coordinate terms: tiramisu, bread pudding
    • 2020 May 27, Kieran Yates, “Fifteen years of TV dinners: why Come Dine With Me has endured”, in The Guardian[1], →ISSN:
      It is interesting to watch the surface joviality on screen while racism is layered between courses like soggy trifles.
  2. (figurative) Anything that is of little importance or worth.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:trifle
    1. An insignificant amount of money.
  3. (figurative) A very small amount (of something).
    Synonyms: smidgen; see also Thesaurus:modicum
    • 1742, [Daniel Defoe], “Letter II. Containing A Description of the City of London.”, in A Tour thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain. [], 3rd edition, volume II, London: [] J. Osborn, [], →OCLC, page 90:
      This Line leaves out [] Poplar and Black-vvall, vvhich are indeed contiguous, a Trifle of Ground excepted, and very populous.
    • 1868, Louisa M[ay] Alcott, chapter 2, in Little Women: [], part first, Boston, Mass.: Roberts Brothers, published 1869, →OCLC:
      There was a good deal of rustling and whispering behind the curtain, a trifle of lamp smoke, and an occasional giggle from Amy []
    • 1932, Graham Greene, Stamboul Strain[2], London: Heinemann, Part 4, p. 180:
      “Take just a trifle of French mustard []
  4. A particular kind of pewter.
  5. (uncountable) Utensils made from this particular kind of pewter.

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Verb edit

trifle (third-person singular simple present trifles, present participle trifling, simple past and past participle trifled)

  1. (intransitive) To deal with something as if it were of little importance or worth.
    You must not trifle with her affections.
  2. (intransitive) To act, speak, or otherwise behave with jest.
  3. (intransitive) To inconsequentially toy with something.
  4. (transitive) To squander or waste.
    • c. 1596–1598 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene i]:
      We trifle time: I pray thee, pursue sentence.
    • 1677, Hannah Woolley, The Compleat Servant-Maid[5], London: T. Passinger, page 62:
      For an honest and sober man will rather make that woman his wife, whom he seeth employed continually about her business, than one who makes it her business to trifle away her own and others time.
    • 1817 (date written), [Jane Austen], chapter VI, in Persuasion; published in Northanger Abbey: And Persuasion. [], volumes (please specify |volume=III or IV), London: John Murray, [], 20 December 1817 (indicated as 1818), →OCLC:
      As it was, he did nothing with much zeal, but sport; and his time was otherwise trifled away, without benefit from books or anything else.
    • 1925, Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, published 1985, page 189:
      You who have known neither sorrow nor pleasure; who have trifled your life away!
  5. (transitive, obsolete) To make a trifle of, to make trivial.

Synonyms edit

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

See also edit

Anagrams edit

Portuguese edit

Noun edit

trifle m (plural trifles)

  1. trifle (English dessert)