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spiffy

[spif-ee]
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adjective, spiff·i·er, spiff·i·est. Informal.
  1. spruce; smart; fine.
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Also spif·fing [spif-ing] /ˈspɪf ɪŋ/; especially British, spivvy, spivving.

Origin of spiffy

1855–60; dial. spiff well-dressed (origin uncertain) + -y1
Related formsspiff·i·ly, adverbspiff·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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 Goldtip sent mamma mine, but declines to come to the front about Amy.

    Piccadilly

    Laurence Oliphant

  • Spiffy first suggested the plan to me, and we found it succeed admirably last year.

    Piccadilly

    Laurence Oliphant


British Dictionary definitions for spiffy

spiffy

adjective -fier or -fiest
  1. US and Canadian slang smart; stylish
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Derived Formsspiffily, adverbspiffiness, 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

Word Origin and History for spiffy

adj.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper