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See more synonyms for trifle on Thesaurus.com
  1. an article or thing of very little value.
  2. a matter, affair, or circumstance of trivial importance or significance.
  3. a small, inconsiderable, or trifling sum of money.
  4. a small quantity or amount of anything; a little: She's still a trifle angry.
  5. a literary, musical, or artistic work of a light or trivial character having no great or lasting merit; bagatelle.
  6. a kind of pewter of medium hardness.
  7. trifles, articles made of this.
  8. English Cookery. a dessert usually consisting of custard and cake soaked in wine or liqueur, and jam, fruit, or the like.
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verb (used without object), tri·fled, tri·fling.
  1. to deal lightly or without due seriousness or respect: Don't trifle with me!
  2. to play or toy by handling or fingering: He sat trifling with a pen.
  3. to act or talk in an idle or frivolous way.
  4. to pass time idly or frivolously; waste time; idle.
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verb (used with object), tri·fled, tri·fling.
  1. to pass or spend (time) idly or frivolously (usually followed by away).
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Origin of trifle

1175–1225; (noun) Middle English tru(f)fle idle talk, deceit < Old French, variant of truf(f)e mockery, deceit; (v.) Middle English treoflen to mock < Old French trufler to make sport of
Related formstri·fler, noun


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. bauble, toy. 13. fritter.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for triflers

Historical Examples

  • A race of triflers arise, who think only of the present hour.

    Pilgrimage from the Alps to the Tiber

    James Aitken Wylie

  • They are not the triflers who balance a feather against a soul.

  • But this minority was denounced by the orthodox as innovators and triflers.

  • Be serious with the serious, gay with the gay, and trifle with the triflers.

  • Then, if you really believe, if it's so serious to you, why do you make a show of it for triflers?

    The Ghost

    Arnold Bennett

British Dictionary definitions for triflers


  1. a thing of little or no value or significance
  2. a small amount; bita trifle more enthusiasm
  3. British a cold dessert made with sponge cake spread with jam or fruit, soaked in wine or sherry, covered with a custard sauce and cream, and decorated
  4. a type of pewter of medium hardness
  5. articles made from this pewter
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  1. (intr usually foll by with) to deal (with) as if worthless; dallyto trifle with a person's affections
  2. to waste (time) frivolously
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Derived Formstrifler, noun

Word Origin

C13: from Old French trufle mockery, from trufler to cheat
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 triflers



early 13c., trufle "false or idle tale," later "matter of little importance" (late 13c.), from Old French trufle "mockery," diminutive of truffe "deception," of uncertain origin.

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"treat lightly," 1520s, from trifle (n.). Related: Trifled; trifling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper