a slight or petty quarrel.
a slight fit of annoyance, bad mood, or the like.

verb (used without object)

to have a petty quarrel.
to be in a tiff.

Origin of tiff

First recorded in 1720–30; origin uncertain

Synonyms for tiff

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tiff

Contemporary Examples of tiff

Historical Examples of tiff

  • "Him would like to walk, him's legs is so 'tiff," said Baby.

  • Your aunt and I had a tiff the last time we met, and that was some months ago.

    Lord Kilgobbin

    Charles Lever

  • Then a tiff ensues, but it is mostly made up of menacing screeches.

  • We had a tiff, and he went off to Monte, all on his little lone.

  • You remind me more and more every day, Tiff, of that dear delightful old Baden-Baden.


    Cornelius Mathews

British Dictionary definitions for tiff




a petty quarrel
a fit of ill humour


(intr) to have or be in a tiff

Word Origin for tiff

C18: of unknown origin




archaic a small draught of alcoholic drink; dram

Word Origin for tiff

C18: see tiffin
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 tiff

1727, "outburst of temper," later "small quarrel" (1754), of uncertain origin; OED suggests imitative, "from the sound of a slight puff of air or gas."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper