adjective, nif·ti·er, nif·ti·est.

attractively stylish or smart: a nifty new dress for Easter.
very good; fine; excellent: a nifty idea.
substantial; sizable: We sold the car for a nifty profit.

noun, plural nif·ties.

something nifty, as a clever remark or joke.

Origin of nifty

An Americanism dating back to 1860–65; of obscure origin
Related formsnif·ti·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nifty

Contemporary Examples of nifty

Historical Examples of nifty

  • Gad, that rose in your hair—trust a girl to know what's nifty!

    The Barrier

    Allen French

  • In a moment I had it girdled, and snapped the nifty sort of buckle they had made for me.

  • She carries that sort of thing well—she's so clean and nifty in line.

    Money Magic

    Hamlin Garland

  • I suppose a mountain climber would have called it a nifty job.


    Charles Emmett Van Loan

  • It's part of my job to be a nifty young suspector—and to use what I guess at.

    The Rules of the Game

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for nifty


adjective -tier or -tiest informal

pleasing, apt, or stylish
quick, agilehe's nifty on his feet
Derived Formsniftily, adverbniftiness, noun

Word Origin for nifty

C19: of uncertain 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 nifty

"smart, stylish," 1868, of unknown origin, perhaps theatrical slang, first attested in a poem by Bret Harte, who said it was a shortened, altered form of magnificat. Related: Niftily; niftiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper