Green’s Dictionary of Slang

spiffy adj.

[spiff adj.]

1. (also spiffical, spivish, spivvy) excellent, wonderful.

[UK]D.G. Rossetti letter 2 Nov. in Letters (1965) I 161: The frame for my water-colour has just come in and is spiffy cheesy jammy nobby [etc.] .
[UK] ‘’Arry at the Play’ in Punch 2 Nov. in P. Marks (2006) 39: I’ve bin going the rounds rare and rorty, along of a spiffical gal.
[UK]G.F. Northall Warwickshire Word-Book 221: Spiff, Spiffing, Spiffy. Fine, gay, first-rate, dapper.
[US]St Paul (Minn.) Globe 19 Jan. 20/4: There wasn’t in our section sich a hefty, spiffy team.
[US]Wash. Herald 6 July 8/1: Hughes and groom worked for the visitors, the latter displaying form that was quite spiffy.
[US]R. Bolwell ‘College Sl. Words And Phrases’ in DN IV:iii 235: spiff, adj. = spiffy.
Eve. Public Ledger (PA) 6 Oct. 32/4: All ready for a ‘spiffy’ time.
[US]J. Archibald ‘Bird Cagey’ in Popular Detective Jan. 🌐 She was a very spiffy looking number that Willie had bumped into.
[UK]A. Buckeridge Jennings Goes To School 9: We had a spivish ozard crossing, but I wasn’t sea-sick, honestly, sir.
[UK]I. & P. Opie Lore and Lang. of Schoolchildren (1977) 181: Other superlatives in favour were: [...] spivving or spivvy (a girl might be ‘spivvy stuff’).
[US]D. Hammett ‘A Man Named Thin’ in Nightmare Town (2001) 345: ‘What do you think of our little sleuth, Florence?’ [...] ‘Spiffy!’ Miss Queenan replied.
[US]T. Berger Sneaky People (1980) 146: This spiffy-looking bird pulled in in the Buick.
[US]S. King Dolores Claiborne 225: I’ll have the place spick n spiffy by the time Missus Donovan drags her hangover down the front stairs.

2. (also spiffey) usually of clothing, neat, smart.

[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. 241: spiffy spruce, well-dressed, tout á la mode.
[[UK]L. Oliphant Piccadilly 134: I thought I should be most likely to hear the truth by applying to the Honourable Spiffington].
[Aus]Hamilton Spectator (Vic.) 7 Jan. 1/7: ‘Swells,’ of course, are ‘fast’ fellows [...] they ‘turn out spiffey,’ dress ‘loud’' and look ‘loud’.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 79: Spiffy, well dressed.
[US]E.L. Warnock ‘Terms of Approbation And Eulogy’ in DN IV:i 22: spiffy. Very fine, attractive, splendid. [...] ‘That hat looks pretty spiffy’.
[US]S. Lewis Arrowsmith 82: You’re going to go and look so spiffy.
[US]S. Ornitz Haunch Paunch and Jowl 119: The girls who seek your company are not so tony, and their style not so spiffy.
P. Grey ‘’Twixt Night ’n’ Dawn’ in Afro-American (Baltimore, MD) 24 Sept. 10/4: [N]ew red and white checked uniforms [...] Quite spiffy, I must say.
[US]J. Archibald ‘Alibi Bye’ in Popular Detective June 🌐 A big citizen, clad in a spiffy tuxedo and wearing a nifty brunette on his arm.
[US]E. Torres After Hours 210: Gail was lookin’ spiffy.
[US]L. Heinemann Paco’s Story (1987) 25: Wearing o.d. T-shirts and spiffy trousers.
[US]T. Wolfe Bonfire of the Vanities 75: The Mercedes’s spiffy dials and gauges were now lit up like a fighter plane’s.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 25 June 11: The age of spiffy computer effects.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 21 Jan. 5: Sporting some rather spiffy designer spectacles.
[US]J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 17: We had spiffier uniforms and really cool boots.
[Aus]L. Redhead Rubdown [ebook] it [i.e. a building] had probably looked quite spiffy in the sixties.
[Scot](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 90: Just about holding on to a spruce and spiffy sense of himself in middle age.

3. (US, also spiffly) tipsy.

[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day by Day 10 May [synd. col.] The party may be a little spiffly from too much boozerine.
[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day by Day 14 Jan. [synd. col.] It was noticed on New Year’s Eve on Broadway that a lot of waiters were very giddy [...] one waiter was so spiffy that he refused a $20 tip.

In derivatives

spiffily (adv.)

neatly, attractively.

[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day by Day 23 May [synd. col.] The opponents, who had been rather spiffily dressed, were left bleeding.