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From Middle English trifle, trifel, triful, trefle, truyfle, trufful, from Old French trufle (mockery), a byform of trufe, truffe (deception), of uncertain origin.


  • IPA(key): /ˈtɹaɪfl̩/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪfəl
  • Hyphenation: tri‧fle


trifle (countable and uncountable, plural trifles)

  1. An English dessert made from a mixture of thick custard, fruit, sponge cake, jelly and whipped cream.
  2. An insignificant amount.
    • 1928, Lawrence R. Bourne, chapter 17, in Well Tackled![1]:
      Commander Birch was a trifle uneasy when he found there was more than a popple on the sea; it was, in fact, distinctly choppy. Strictly speaking, he ought to have been following up the picket–boat, but he was satisfied that the circumstances were sufficiently urgent for him to take risks.
  3. Anything that is of little importance or worth.
    • Shakespeare
      Trifles light as air / Are to the jealous confirmation strong / As proofs of holy writ.
    • Drayton
      with such poor trifles playing
  4. A particular kind of pewter.
  5. (uncountable) Utensils made from this particular kind of pewter.


Derived terms[edit]

Coordinate terms[edit]




trifle (third-person singular simple present trifles, present participle trifling, simple past and past participle trifled)

  1. (intransitive) To deal with something as if it were of little importance or worth.
  2. (intransitive) To act, speak, or otherwise behave with jest.
  3. (intransitive) To inconsequentially toy with something.
  4. (transitive) To squander or waste.


See also[edit]




trifle m (plural trifles)

  1. trifle (English dessert)