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  • IPA(key): /ˈtɹaɪfliŋ/
    • (file)


trifling (comparative more trifling, superlative most trifling)

  1. Trivial, or of little importance.
    Synonyms: trivial, inconsequential, petty; see also Thesaurus:insignificant
    • 1726 October 28, [Jonathan Swift], “A Great Storm Described, the Long-Boat Sent to Fetch Water, the Author Goes with It to Discover the Country. []”, in Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. [], volume I, London: [] Benj[amin] Motte, [], →OCLC, part II (A Voyage to Brobdingnag), page [176]:
      However, upon a ſtrict Review, I blotted out ſeveral Paſſages of leſs Moment which were in my firſt Copy, for fear of being cenſured as tedious and trifling, whereof Travellers are often, perhaps not without Juſtice, accuſed.
    • 1840, Lewis Rose, “Fear that we are on the way to troubles”, in An Humble Attempt to Put an End to the Present Divisions in the Church of Scotland, and to Promote Her Usefulness. [] [1], Glasgow: George Gallie, →OCLC, page 4:
      Trifling, apparently, was the circumstance that led to the restoration of Charles. But there is nothing really little or trifling in the government of God.
    • 2005, Plato, translated by Lesley Brown, Sophist, page 234a:
      [] it doesn't take him long to make any of them, and he sells them for some trifling sum of money.
  2. Idle or frivolous.
  3. (African-American Vernacular) Of suspicious character, typically secretive or deceitful; shady.
    • 2001, Glenda Howard, Cita's World:
      My hand was aching to slap that silly heifer. I told her to take her trifling ass down to Burger King and get herself a job flipping burgers []

Related terms[edit]



trifling (plural triflings)

  1. The act of one who trifles; frivolous behaviour.
    • 1845, George Croly, Samuel Warren, Marston, or the Memoirs of a Statesman:
      He writes on the principle, of course, that in one's dotage we are privileged to return to the triflings of our infancy, and that Downing Street cannot be better employed in these days than as a chapel of ease to Eton.




  1. present participle and gerund of trifle