of very little importance; trivial; insignificant: a trifling matter.
of small value, cost, or amount: a trifling sum.
frivolous; shallow; light: trifling conversation.
mean; worthless.


idle or frivolous conduct, talk, etc.
foolish delay or waste of time.

Nearby words

  1. trifecta,
  2. triffid,
  3. trifid,
  4. trifid foot,
  5. trifle,
  6. triflingly,
  7. trifluoperazine,
  8. trifluoride,
  9. trifluorochloromethane,
  10. trifluralin

Origin of trifling

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at trifle, -ing2, -ing1

Related formstri·fling·ly, adverbtri·fling·ness, nounun·tri·fling, adjectiveun·tri·fling·ly, adverb




an article or thing of very little value.
a matter, affair, or circumstance of trivial importance or significance.
a small, inconsiderable, or trifling sum of money.
a small quantity or amount of anything; a little: She's still a trifle angry.
a literary, musical, or artistic work of a light or trivial character having no great or lasting merit; bagatelle.
a kind of pewter of medium hardness.
trifles, articles made of this.
English Cooking. a dessert usually consisting of custard and cake soaked in wine or liqueur, and jam, fruit, or the like.

verb (used without object), tri·fled, tri·fling.

to deal lightly or without due seriousness or respect: Don't trifle with me!
to play or toy by handling or fingering: He sat trifling with a pen.
to act or talk in an idle or frivolous way.
to pass time idly or frivolously; waste time; idle.

verb (used with object), tri·fled, tri·fling.

to pass or spend (time) idly or frivolously (usually followed by away).

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

Examples from the Web for trifling

British Dictionary definitions for trifling



insignificant or petty
frivolous or idle
Derived Formstriflingly, adverbtriflingness, noun



a thing of little or no value or significance
a small amount; bita trifle more enthusiasm
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
a type of pewter of medium hardness
articles made from this pewter


(intr usually foll by with) to deal (with) as if worthless; dallyto trifle with a person's affections
to waste (time) frivolously
Derived Formstrifler, noun

Word Origin for trifle

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 trifling
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper