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See more synonyms for jiffy on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural jif·fies. Informal.
  1. a very short time; moment: to get dressed in a jiffy.
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Also jiff [jif] /dʒɪf/.

Origin of jiffy

First recorded in 1770–80; origin uncertain


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

breath, crack, flash, moment, twinkling, second, shake, minute, trice, jiff

Examples from the Web for jiffy

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Every other boy had jerked them down and chucked them under the counter in a jiffy.

  • It doesn't matter; we'll break the door down in a jiffy, anyway.

    The Dare Boys of 1776

    Stephen Angus Cox

  • The bottle was filled with kerosene, and in a jiffy the box was covered with the flame.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • Peter T. had 'em labeled the "Duchess" and "Irene dear" in a jiffy.

    Cape Cod Stories

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • I—I just stepped over 'cross the Lane for a jiffy, that's all.

    The Rise of Roscoe Paine

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for jiffy


jiff (dʒɪf)

noun plural jiffies or jiffs
  1. informal a very short timewait a jiffy
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Word Origin

C18: of unknown origin
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 jiffy


1785, "a moment, an instant," colloquial, origin unknown; said to be originally thieves' slang for "lightning."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with jiffy


see under in a flash.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.