What does trifle mean?

Definitions for trifle
ˈtraɪ fəltri·fle

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word trifle.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. triflenoun

    a cold pudding made of layers of sponge cake spread with fruit or jelly; may be decorated with nuts, cream, or chocolate

  2. technicality, trifle, trivialitynoun

    a detail that is considered insignificant

  3. triviality, trivia, trifle, small beerverb

    something of small importance

  4. piddle, wanton, wanton away, piddle away, trifleverb

    waste time; spend one's time idly or inefficiently

  5. frivol, trifleverb

    act frivolously

  6. dally, trifle, playverb

    consider not very seriously

    "He is trifling with her"; "She plays with the thought of moving to Tasmania"


  1. triflenoun

    An English dessert made from a mixture of thick custard, fruit, sponge cake, jelly and whipped cream.

  2. triflenoun

    An insignificant amount.

  3. triflenoun

    Anything that is of little importance or worth.

  4. triflenoun

    A particular kind of pewter.

  5. triflenoun

    utensils made from this particular kind of pewter.

  6. trifleverb

    To deal with something as if it were of little importance or worth.

  7. trifleverb

    To act, speak, or otherwise behave with jest.

  8. trifleverb

    To inconsequentially toy with something.

  9. trifleverb

    To squander or waste.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Triflenoun

    A thing of no moment.

    Etymology: from the noun.

    The instruments of darkness tell us truths;
    Win us with honest trifles, to betray us
    In deepest consequence. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    Old Geoffrey Chaucer doth of Topas tell,
    Mad Rabelais of Pantagruel,
    A later third of Dowsabell,
    With such poor trifles playing:
    Others the like have labour’d at,
    Some of this thing, and some of that,
    And many of they know not what,
    But that they must be saying. Michael Drayton, Nymphid.

    The infinitely greatest confessed good is neglected, to satisfy the successive uneasiness of our desires pursuing trifles. John Locke.

  2. To Trifleverb

    To make of no importance. Not in use.

    Threescore and ten I can remember well,
    Within the volume of which time I’ve seen
    Hours dreadful and things strange; but this sore night
    Hath trifled former knowings. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

  3. To Trifleverb

    Etymology: tryfelen, Dutch.

    When they saw that we ought to abrogate such popish ceremonies as are unprofitable, or else might have other more profitable in their stead, they trifle and they beat the air about nothing which toucheth us, unless they mean that we ought to abrogate all popish ceremonies. Richard Hooker.

    Do not believe,
    That, from the sense of all civility,
    I thus would play and trifle with your reverence. William Shakespeare.

    ’Tis hard for every trifling debt of two shillings to be driven to law. Edmund Spenser.


  1. Trifle

    Trifle is a layered dessert of English origin. The usual ingredients are a thin layer of sponge fingers or sponge cake soaked in sherry or another fortified wine, a fruit element (fresh or jelly), custard and whipped cream layered in that order in a glass dish. The contents of a trifle are highly variable and many varieties exist, some forgoing fruit entirely and instead using other ingredients, such as chocolate, coffee or vanilla. The fruit and sponge layers may be suspended in fruit-flavoured jelly, and these ingredients are usually arranged to produce three or four layers. The assembled dessert can be topped with whipped cream or, more traditionally, syllabub. The name trifle was used for a dessert like a fruit fool in the sixteenth century; by the eighteenth century, Hannah Glasse records a recognisably modern trifle, with the inclusion of a gelatin jelly.


  1. trifle

    A trifle is a thing of little value or importance; a small, trivial matter or item. It can also refer to an English dessert made with layers of sponge cake, custard, jelly, and cream.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Triflenoun

    a thing of very little value or importance; a paltry, or trivial, affair

  2. Triflenoun

    a dish composed of sweetmeats, fruits, cake, wine, etc., with syllabub poured over it

  3. Triflenoun

    to act or talk without seriousness, gravity, weight, or dignity; to act or talk with levity; to indulge in light or trivial amusements

  4. Trifleverb

    to make of no importance; to treat as a trifle

  5. Trifleverb

    to spend in vanity; to fritter away; to waste; as, to trifle away money


  1. Trifle

    Trifle is a dessert dish made from thick custard, fruit, sponge cake, fruit juice or jelly, and whipped cream. These ingredients are usually arranged in layers.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Trifle

    trī′fl, v.i. to act or talk lightly: to indulge in light or silly amusements: to waste or spend idly or unprofitably (with).—n. anything of little value: a light confection of whipped cream or white of egg, with fruit, wine, &c.—n. Trī′fler.—adj. Trī′fling, of small value or importance: trivial.—adv. Trī′flingly.—n. Trī′flingness. [O. Fr. trufle, dim. of truffe, a gibe, also a truffle.]

Matched Categories

Anagrams for trifle »

  1. filter

  2. lifter

  3. relift

  4. fertil

How to pronounce trifle?

How to say trifle in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of trifle in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of trifle in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of trifle in a Sentence

  1. John Locke:

    Curiosity in children, is but an appetite for knowledge. One great reason why children abandon themselves wholly to silly pursuits and trifle away their time insipidly is, because they find their curiosity balked, and their inquiries neglected.

  2. George Crabbe:

    Deceivers are the most dangerous members of society. They trifle with the best affections of our nature, and violate the most sacred obligations.

  3. Dwight L. Moody:

    Never think that Jesus commanded a trifle, nor dare to trifle with anything He has commanded.

  4. E. B. White:

    You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.

  5. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus:

    Forward, as occasion offers. Never look round to see whether any shall note it.... Be satisfied with success in even the smallest matter, and think that even such a result is no trifle.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for trifle

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • تافهArabic
  • ваҡ-төйәкBashkir
  • fotesaCatalan, Valencian
  • maličkostCzech
  • Kleinigkeit, TrifleGerman
  • sopa inglesaSpanish
  • veidi, vähe, pisut, natukeEstonian
  • pikkuasia, tina, leikitellä, pilailla, rahtunen, hitunen, pikkujuttu, hiukkanen, leikkiä, väheksyä, tina-astia, trifle, vitsailla, ripaus, tinaseos, hippunenFinnish
  • bagatelle, broutille, bricole, babioleFrench
  • traidhfil, réadánIrish
  • apróságHungarian
  • AgakIndonesian
  • peltro, bagattella, un tantino, un po', inezia, briciola, tartufo, cosa da poco, zuppa ingleseItalian
  • קְצָתHebrew
  • トライフルJapanese
  • nugaeLatin
  • takunga, kanehe, takutakungaMāori
  • kluts, aalmoes, zever, puddingtaart, bagatel, een beetjeDutch
  • drobiazgPolish
  • trifle, ninharia, bugigangaPortuguese
  • прикалываться, копейка, безделушка, небольшая сумма, бисквит, теребить, пустяк, небольшое количество, играть, тратить, шутить, расточать, растрачивать, мелочь, не принимать всерьёз, безделица, разбазариватьRussian
  • тратити, тричарија, sitnica, tratiti, tričarija, ситницаSerbo-Croatian
  • maličkosťSlovak
  • ทรัยเฟิลThai
  • pandispanyalı tatlıTurkish
  • chuyện lặt vặtVietnamese

Get even more translations for trifle »


Find a translation for the trifle definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"trifle." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 27 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/trifle>.

Discuss these trifle definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for trifle? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Image or illustration of


    Credit »

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    occurring from time to time
    • A. plush
    • B. opaque
    • C. transparent
    • D. occasional

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for trifle: