Sally M (sallymn) wrote in 1word1day,
Sally M

Sunday Word: Spiff

spiff [spif ]

(informal) spruce; make attractive, stylish, or up-to-date - usually used with up


The 15-mile Gwynns Falls Trail beckons hikers and bikers; the garden club works to spiff up the landscape. (Mike Klingman, 'Small-town feel, but with big-city amenities': Baltimore’s tiny Dickeyville is quaint and quiet, Baltimore Sun, March 2021)

High-school students used to spiff up their college applications with extracurriculars like Model U.N. and student council. (Ian Chadwick, Is Every Ambitious Teen-ager a 'Founder and C.E.O.'?, The New Yorker, January 2021)

"The interviewer should be here any moment." Ruth plucked a ball of lint off Kenny's shirtsleeve. "Why not you go spiff up while we wait?" (Hope Callaghan, Key to Savannah)


'make neat or spruce,' 1877 (with up or out), probably from spiffy (1853, of uncertain origin). Spiffing 'excellent' was very popular in 1870s slang. (Online Etymology Dictionary)

Tags: informal, s, unknown etymology, unknown origin, verb, wordsmith: sallymn

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