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Compare German muffeln ("grouse, grumble") and similar German words with similar meanings such as Muff, mupf, Muffel and Dutch moppen ("growl, grouse"). Probably related to mop "grimace".



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.