trifle

trifle, toy, dally, flirt, coquet can all mean to deal with a person or thing without seriousness, earnestness, close attention, or purpose.
Trifle, the most comprehensive term of the group, may be used interchangeably with any of the others, implying any of such varied attitudes as playfulness, unconcern, indulgent contempt, or light amorousness
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dabbled in poetry, delivered ironical orations, . . . trifled with some of the radical doctrines then current— Lerner

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knows when to be serious and when to trifle, and he has a sure tact which enables him to trifle with gracefulness and to be serious with effect— Newman

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she began to trifle with plans of retirement, of playing in Paris, of taking a theatre in London, and other whims— Shaw

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Toy implies a dealing with a person or thing in a way that keeps one pleasantly occupied but does not engage one's full attention or evoke serious intention
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since Plutarch, innumerable hands have toyed with historical biography, but not until our time has it become perfected as an art form— Mandel

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he lapsed into be-coming an observer of life, toying on the margin of women and politics— Lowenthal

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there is evidence that Augustus, like Julius, toyed with the idea of giving the Assemblies greater power and making them representative of the whole body of citizens in Italy— Buchan

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Dally stresses indulgence in something (as thoughts or plans) as a pastime or amusement rather than as leading to something definite or serious; it usually retains some hint of deliberate dawdling, the notion predominant in another of its senses
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dallied with him, and liked him well enough, but there was a more glittering catch on her horizon— Kathleen Fitzpatrick

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poetry ... is not a mere exercise in fancy, not a dallying with pretty little nothings— Kilby

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for so, to interpose a little ease, let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise— Milton

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Flirt, which in several of its senses implies quick jerky movement, in this extended use stresses vagrancy and superficiality of interest, attention, or liking and often a tendency to pass heedlessly from one person or concern to another
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German leaders were flirting with the idea of a deal with Russia— Time

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the bright young people flirting with new isms— O'Hearn

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afraid to have either war or peace with the enemy, we flirt with both prospects— Ascoli

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Coquet primarily refers to a trifling in love, such as is characteristic of a flirtatious woman
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she coquetted with the solid husbands of her friends, and with the two or three bachelors of the town— Dorothy Parker

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but it is also used in reference to things which catch one's interest but with which one will not come fairly to terms
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there were none of those external indications of Christmas which are so frequent at "good" Jewish houses .... Mrs. Henry Goldsmith did not countenance these coquettings with Christianity— Zangwill

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Analogous words: palter, fib, equivocate, prevaricate, *lie: waver, vacillate, falter, *hesitate: dawdle (see DELAY)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Trifle — Trifle. Ilustraciones realizadas por Isabella Beeton en su libro Mrs Beeton s Book of House …   Wikipedia Español

  • Trifle — ist eine englische Süßspeise, bestehend aus mehreren Schichten aus Custard, Obst oder Marmelade, Biskuitkuchen und Schlagsahne. Der Biskuit wird im Allgemeinen mit Alkohol getränkt (Port, süßen Sherry, Madeira oder auch Weißwein). Das Wort Trifle …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Trifle — Autre nom Créole Lieu d origine Angleterre Place dans le service dessert Température de …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Trifle — Tri fle, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Trifled}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Trifling}.] [OE. trifelen, truflen. See {Trifle}, n.] To act or talk without seriousness, gravity, weight, or dignity; to act or talk with levity; to indulge in light or trivial amusements …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • trifle — [trī′fəl] n. [ME < OFr trufle, mockery, dim. of truffe, deception] 1. something of little value or importance; trivial thing, idea, etc.; paltry matter 2. a small amount of money 3. a small amount or degree; bit 4. esp. in England, a dessert… …   English World dictionary

  • Trifle — Tri fle, v. t. 1. To make of no importance; to treat as a trifle. [Obs.] Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. To spend in vanity; to fritter away; to waste; as, to trifle away money. We trifle time. Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Trifle — Tri fle, n. [OE. trifle, trufle, OF. trufle mockery, raillery, trifle, probably the same word as F. truffe truffle, the word being applied to any small or worthless object. See {Truffle}.] 1. A thing of very little value or importance; a paltry,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • trifle — [n1] novelty item bagatelle, bauble, bibelot, curio, gewgaw*, knickknack, nothing*, novelty, objet d’art, plaything, toy, trinket, triviality, whatnot*; concept 446 trifle [n2] very small amout bit, dash, diddly*, drop, eyelash*, fly speck*,… …   New thesaurus

  • trifle — ► NOUN 1) a thing of little value or importance. 2) a small amount. 3) Brit. a cold dessert of sponge cake and fruit covered with layers of custard, jelly, and cream. ► VERB 1) (trifle with) treat without seriousness or respect. 2) archaic ta …   English terms dictionary

  • trifle — index palter, paucity, pettifog, scintilla, technicality Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary


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