A small, high-pitched, transverse flute used primarily to accompany drums in a military or marching band.
v. fifed, fif·ing, fifes
To play a fife.
To perform (a piece or tune) on or as if on a fife.
[Probably German Pfeife, from Middle High German pfīfe, from Old High German pfīffa, from Vulgar Latin *pīpa, from Latin pīpāre, to chirp.]
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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.