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[spif-ee] /ˈspɪf i/
adjective, spiffier, spiffiest. Informal.
spruce; smart; fine.
Also, spiffing
[spif-ing] /ˈspɪf ɪŋ/ (Show IPA).
especially British, spivvy, spivving.
Origin of spiffy
1855-60; dial. spiff well-dressed (origin uncertain) + -y1
Related forms
spiffily, adverb
spiffiness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for spiffy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Jones, show his lordship the stock-list," said spiffy, with a swagger.

    Piccadilly Laurence Oliphant
  • "Ask the syndicate," said Jones, looking at spiffy in a significant way.

    Piccadilly Laurence Oliphant
  • spiffy got uncommonly pale, but recovered himself in a second.

    Piccadilly Laurence Oliphant
  • spiffy first suggested the plan to me, and we found it succeed admirably last year.

    Piccadilly Laurence Oliphant
  • spiffy Goldtip sent mamma mine, but declines to come to the front about Amy.

    Piccadilly Laurence Oliphant
  • “What a spiffy little cabin,” exclaimed the stranger as she entered the door and prepared to draw her fur parka off over her head.

  • Some are about as spiffy dressers as you'll see anywhere and a few are what I'd call speedy performers.

    Torchy As A Pa Sewell Ford
  • spiffy says they will both fail, because Staggerton has not the means of having them properly brought out.

    Piccadilly Laurence Oliphant
  • To describe all spiffy's exertions in the Bodwinkle cause for some days prior to the ball would be impossible.

    Piccadilly Laurence Oliphant
British Dictionary definitions for spiffy


adjective -fier, -fiest
(US & Canadian, slang) smart; stylish
Derived Forms
spiffily, adverb
spiffiness, noun
Word Origin
C19: from dialect spiff
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 spiffy

1853, of uncertain origin, probably related to spiff "well-dressed man." Spiffing "excellent" was very popular in 1870s slang. Uncertain relationship to spiff (n.) "percentage allowed by drapers to their young men when they effect sale of old fashioned or undesirable stock" (1859), or to spiflicate "confound, overcome completely," a cant word from 1749 preserved in American English slang spiflicated "drunk," first recorded 1906 in O.Henry.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for spiffy



Elegant; excellent; snazzy: They wear spiffy red-and-gold scarves/ New Model Buggy for Amish Is Spiffy (1853+)


Well; elegantly: They don't translate so spiffy (1937+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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