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Origin uncertain.



miff (plural miffs)

  1. A small argument; a quarrel.
    Synonym: tiff
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling:
      nay, she would throw it in the teeth of Allworthy himself, when a little quarrel, or miff, as it is vulgarly called, arose between them.
    • 1872, Thomas Hardy, Under the Greenwood Tree:
      John Wildway and I had a miff and parted; []
  2. A state of being offended.
    • 1851, T. S. Arthur, Off-Hand Sketches
      She's taken a miff at something, I suppose, and means to cut my acquaintance.



miff (third-person singular simple present miffs, present participle miffing, simple past and past participle miffed)

  1. (transitive, usually used in the passive) To offend slightly.
    • 1805 March 12, Bernard DeVoto, editor, The journals of Lewis and Clark, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1953, Clark's journal, page 85:
      he [our Interpreter Shabonah] will not agree to work let our Situation be what it may nor Stand a guard, and if miffed with any man he wishes to return when he pleases
    • 1824, Sir Walter Scott, Redgauntlet
      [] answered my Thetis, a little miffed perhaps -- to use the women's phrase — that I turned the conversation upon my former partner, rather than addressed it to herself.
    • 1911, James Oliver Curwood, Philip Steele of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police
      "Don't get miffed about it, man," returned Nome with an irritating laugh.
  2. (intransitive) To become slightly offended.
    • 1905, George Barr McCutcheon, Jane Cable
      She miffed and started to reply, but thought better of it.