AskDefine | Define trifle

Dictionary Definition



1 jam-spread sponge cake soaked in wine served with custard sauce
2 a detail that is considered insignificant [syn: technicality, triviality]
3 something of small importance [syn: triviality, trivia, small beer]


1 waste time; spend one's time idly or inefficiently [syn: piddle, wanton, wanton away, piddle away]
2 act frivolously [syn: frivol]
3 consider not very seriously; "He is trifling with her"; "She plays with the thought of moving to Tasmania" [syn: dally, play]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. An English dessert made from a mixture of thick custard, fruit, sponge cake, jelly and whipped cream.
  2. An insignificant amount.
  3. A detail or thing of little importance or worth.
  4. A particular kind of pewter.
  5. utensils made from this particular kind of pewter.
  6. See a trifle



insignificant amount
thing of little importance or worth
kind of pewter
utensils made from this kind of pewter

Derived terms


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


To deal with something as if it were of little importance or worth
To act, speak, or otherwise behave with jest
To inconsequentially toy with something
To squander or waste

Extensive Definition

A trifle is a dessert dish made from thick (or often solidified) custard, fruit, sponge cake, fruit juice or, more recently, jelly (gelatin), and whipped cream. These ingredients are usually arranged in layers with fruit and sponge on the bottom, and custard and cream on top.
Some trifles contain a small amount of alcohol such as port, or, most commonly, sweet sherry or madeira wine. Non-alcoholic versions use fruit juice instead, as the liquid is necessary to moisten the cake. Trifle containing sherry is sometimes called 'sherry trifle' or referred to as being 'High Church'.
One popular trifle variant has the sponges soaked in jelly (liquid-gelatin dessert) when the trifle is made, which sets when refrigerated. The cake and jelly bind together and produce a uniquely pleasant texture if made in the correct proportions (there should not be too much jelly added, or nucleation will not occur).
Some supermarkets sell 'chocolate trifle' which is not really trifle at all. A trifle cannot be composed of chocolate layers as it must contain fruit.
A trifle is often used for decoration as well as taste, incorporating the bright, layered colours of the fruit, jelly, jam, and the contrast of the creamy yellow custard and white cream.
Trifles are often served at Christmas time, sometimes as a lighter alternative to the much denser Christmas pudding.
A Creole trifle (also sometimes known as a 'Russian cake') is a different but related dessert item consisting of pieces of a variety of cakes mixed together and packed firmly, moistened with alcohol (commonly red wine or rum) and a sweet syrup or fruit juice, and chilled. The resulting cake contains a whirlpool of colour and flavour. Bakeries in New Orleans have been known to produce such cakes out of their leftover or imperfect baked goods.
In Italy, a dessert similar to trifle is known as zuppa inglese.
trifle in German: Trifle
trifle in Spanish: Trifle
trifle in French: Trifle
trifle in Japanese: トライフル
trifle in Dutch: trifle
trifle in Luxembourgish: Trifle
trifle in Thai: ทรัยเฟิล

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Charlotte, Danish pastry, French pastry, a continental, a curse, a damn, a darn, a hoot, abandon, bagatelle, baklava, bauble, be foolish, be stupid, bean, beguile the time, bibelot, bill and coo, bit, blintz, brass farthing, bric-a-brac, burn daylight, button, carrot pudding, cent, chaff, chicken feed, chickenshit, chocolate eclair, chocolate mousse, cipher, clown, clown around, consume time, copulate, coquet, cream puff, curio, custard, cut, dab, dabble, dally, dally away, dandle, dash, details, diddle, diddle away, doodle, dowdy, dribble away, drivel away, drop, dud, duff, dummy, eclair, farce, farthing, feather, fiddle, fiddle with, fiddle-faddle, fidget, fidget with, fig, finger with, flan, fleabite, flirt, flirt with, folderol, fool, fool around, fool away, fool with, footle, fribble, frippery, fritter away, fritter away time, frivol, froth, gaud, get funny, gewgaw, gimcrack, gimcrackery, go haywire, goldbrick, goof off, hair, halfpenny, hardly anything, hill of beans, hollow man, horse around, idle, idle away, invite ridicule, iota, jackstraw, jerk off, jest, joke, jot, jump, junket, kickshaw, kid around, kill time, knickknack, knickknackery, lay figure, lead on, leave, leave loose ends, leave undone, let alone, let be, let dangle, let go, little, loiter, lollygag, lose time, make love, make out, malinger, man of straw, mash, mere nothing, mess around, minikin, minutiae, miss, mite, mockery, molehill, monkey, monkey around, mousse, muck, mucker, muddle away, nebbish, neck, next to nothing, nobody, nonentity, nothing, novelty, nullity, omit, pandowdy, pass over, pass the time, pass up, pastry, pasty, patisserie, patty, patty-shell, peanuts, peppercorn, pet, philander, picayune, piddle, pie, pin, pinch, pinch of snuff, pinprick, piss away, play, play around, play the buffoon, play the fool, play with, plaything, plum pudding, potter, potter away, pretermit, procrastinate, pudding, puff, puppet, pushover, putter, quiche, rap, red cent, rennet, rosette, row of pins, rubbish, rush, scintilla, shade, shirk, shit, skip, slack, smack, small beer, small change, smatter, smidgen, smidgin, smooch, snap, sneeshing, sou, soupcon, spice, spoon, steamed pudding, straw, string along, strudel, suggestion, suspicion, sweet-talk, syllabub, tad, tapioca pudding, tart, thing of naught, timbale, tinker, tipsy cake, tittle, tomfool, touch, toy, toy with, trace, trash, trifle away, trifle with, trifles, trinket, trivia, triviality, trumpery, tuppence, turnover, twiddle, two cents, twopence, vanilla pudding, vol-au-vent, wanton, waste time, whatnot, whiff, while away, whim-wham, whisper sweet nothings, whit, zero
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