a. Something of little importance or value.
b. A small amount; a jot.
2. A dessert typically consisting of plain or sponge cake soaked in sherry, rum, or brandy and topped with layers of jam or jelly, custard, and whipped cream.
a. A moderately hard variety of pewter.
b. trifles Utensils made from this variety of pewter.
v. tri·fled, tri·fling, tri·fles
1. To treat flippantly or without seriousness; play or toy: Don't trifle with my affections. See Synonyms at flirt.
2. Archaic To act or speak with little seriousness or purpose; jest.
To waste (time or money, for example).
A little; somewhat: a trifle stingy.
[Middle English trufle, trifle, piece of foolishness, trifling matter, from Old French trufle, variant of truffe, trick, mockery, from Old Provençal trufa, truffle, mockery (from the notion that truffles, being difficult to find, seem to mock those who search for them); see TRUFFLE.]
trifler (trīflər) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.