Green’s Dictionary of Slang

jiffy n.

also giff, giffey, giffy, jef, jeffy, jif, jiff, jiffey, jiffie, jiffin

1. a moment, a very short time; almost invariably in phr. in a jiffy; occas. in a jiff; also intensified as half a jiff(y).

[US]‘Andrew Barton’ Disappointment III iii: I’ll fetch ’um in a jiffin.
[Ire] ‘De Kilmainham Minit’ in Luke Caffrey’s Gost 6: In a Giffe we blink’d at de Spud.
[UK]T. Scott Poems 365: Wad aften in a jiffie to auld Nick Sen’ ane anither [F&H].
[UK]G. Colman Yngr John Bull IV i: He settled all in a jiffy.
[US]‘Hector Bull-us’ Diverting Hist. of John Bull and Brother Jonathan 11: Why, it is but the other day, that old Oliver What-d’ye-callem, [...] turned her out of Squire Bull’s house in a jiffy.
[UK]E. Picken Poems ii 47: An’ in a jiffin Row’d his fecket like a clew [F&H].
[US]A.N. Royall Letters from Alabama 30 Jan. 124: I’ll just put on the camp-kettle and have it boiling in a giffey.
[UK]W. Perry London Guide 42: But mark this: provided you make good use of your lungs, and also make a decent stir before you get touched with hand or stick, I’ll pound them to bolt in a jiffy.
[Ire]‘A Real Paddy’ Real Life in Ireland 126: But then in a jiffey, / It plung’d in the Liffey.
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 34: Many an unfortunate homo [...] has been ‘damned to everlasting Fame,’ and disposed of in a Jef.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: It will be done in a jeffy; it will be done in a short space of time, in an instant.
[UK]Mr Mathews’ Comic Annual 9: I got upon the seat towards the top, but I was jolted to the other end in a jiffey.
[UK] ‘John Marrow’s Pudding’ in Cockchafer 38: For then, you must know, I felt very grand, / When John in a jiffy popp’d into my hand / His long pudding!
[Ire] ‘I Don’t Care If I Do’ Dublin Comic Songster 63: Then three jugs of yale in a jiffy I drunk.
[US]Kalida Venture (OH) 4 Apr. 1/1: His Lordship sprang over the walls in a jiffy.
[UK]G.W.M. Reynolds Mysteries of London II (2nd Ser.) 164: You shall have dinner in a jiffey, I can promise you!
[US]Melville Moby Dick (1907) 380: The next instant, in a jiff, I was blind as a bat.
[UK]M. Reid Scalp-Hunters I 116: I will be back in a jiffy.
[US]J. Brougham Basket of Chips 401: This here description o’ pictur’ takin’ was done in a giffy.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 4 Oct. 3/1: Inspector Mortimer [...] was ‘down’ upon the offender in a jiffey.
[UK] ‘Opening of the Viaduct’ in C. Hindley Curiosities of Street Lit. (1871) 152: Come lads and lasses, be up in a jiffy.
[Aus]Aus. Town & Country Jrnl (Sydney) 26 Nov. 17/1: ‘I’d clap yoke on 'em in a jiffy but I’m bent two double in this colic’.
[US]Bolivar Bull. (TN) 15 Apr. 1/4: We kin have a light-wood fire in two jiffies.
Wkly Kansas Chief (Troy, KS) 26 Dec. 1/5: Some of the hands would lik to see you for half a jiff, Mr Wade.
[UK]Bristol Mercury 19 Apr. 6/4: If the Englishman or W.R. had had any ‘nous’ about them [...] they could have done it in a ‘jiffey’.
[Ind]‘Aliph Cheem’ Lays of Ind (1905) 105: And, in a jiffey, stood gesticulating by the brute!
[UK]J. Greenwood Tag, Rag & Co. 27: We can shove her off and away we go in a jiffy.
[UK]Western Times 28 May 2/4: He went in a giffy.
[UK]Sporting Times 8 Feb. 3/3: We get into the harbour [...] in rather less than a jiffey.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘His Last Ride’ in Roderick (1972) 27: We’ll have yer home in a jiffy.
[UK] ‘’Arry and the [...] Lady Cyclists’ in Punch 15 June 285/1: It took me aback for a jiff, th’ of course I was speedy all there.
[UK]Boys Of The Empire 25 Dec. 181: The rotary cascade bunged up both eyes in a jiffey.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 6 Oct. 11/4: In a jiffy Handler started to divest himself of his street attire.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 15 Dec. 162: Ye can have your fill of bacon in a jiffy.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 19 May 14/4: Left before breakfast, not wishing to express my feelings to the landlord, who thought he could fight, and would – the groom informed me – ‘job a bloke in the eye in half a jiff.’.
[US]H. Garland Eagle’s Heart 125: We’ll have some taters and sow-belly in a giff or two.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 21 Oct. 4/7: I tumbled in arf of a jiffy.
[US]O. Johnson Varmint 62: Finish up and we’ll fit you out in a jiffy.
[UK]H. Champion ‘Standard Bread’ [lyrics] Six months’ washing was done in ’arf a jiff.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘Red Robin’ in Chisholm (1951) 123: In half a jiff she has me on the ropes.
[UK]D.L. Sayers Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1977) 157: Half a jiff.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 165: Can you wait a jiffy?
[UK]D.L. Sayers Nine Tailors (1984) 134: Now then – up with the cover. Half a jiff.
[UK]E. Garnett Family from One End Street 164: Pack up, quick, they’ll be starting in a jiffy!
[UK]Whizzbang Comics 99: I’ll have that lead out in a jiffy.
[Aus]R. Park Poor Man’s Orange 101: Scuse me. Won’t be a jiff.
[US]Batman No. 73 12: I’ll have this belt conveyor loose in a jiffy!
[UK]H.E. Bates Darling Buds of May (1985) 14: Mariette, come over here a jiff.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves in the Offing 15: ‘Oh, Jeeves,’ I said. ‘Half a jiffy.’.
[Aus]B. Humphries Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 16: Hang on a jiff, though — I haven’t got the gladrags with me.
[US]L. Rosten Dear ‘Herm’ 8: Wait a jiff.
[UK]P. Theroux Picture Palace 258: If we could step inside the house it would be over in a jiffy.
[UK]A. Payne ‘All Mod Cons’ Minder [TV script] 56: Look, let us use the phone and I’ll sort that in a jiffy.
[UK]M. Read Scouting for Boys in Best Radio Plays (1984) 158: coop: Well, time to bed down. tiger: Shan’t be a jiff.
[UK]Beano Comic Library No. 182 63: Back in a jif.
[UK]Dandy Book n.p.: ‘Hold on tight and you’ll be home in a jiff?’.
[UK]A. Warner Sopranos 261: [Her] eyes lighted again on Kay, flickering only for the jiffiest of jiffies at Kay’s legs.
[US]‘Jack Tunney’ Split Decision [ebook] Tjhat five hundred would be out of my pocket and onto her finger in a jiffy.

2. a very small amount.

[UK]S. Watson Wops the Waif 2/2: He has got me down to my last stiver, without a blessed jiff of ’ope in me.