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trifle
used in A Prayer for Owen Meany

2 meanings, 13 uses
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1  —12 uses as in:
a trifling matter
Definition
something of small importance; or a small quantity
  • We had a modest going-away party for him at 80 Front Street; Hester and Grandmother were a trifle teary, but the overall tone of our celebration was jolly.
    p. 500.3
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • "GOOD," he said; he was very pleased about it, if a trifle nervous.
    p. 66.0
  • Owen was quite accustomed to people feeling compelled to touch him, but in Hester's case he retreated a trifle anxiously from her touch—though not so much that she was offended.
    p. 76.3
  • Mrs. Brinker-Smith, on the other hand, appeared a trifle tired.
    p. 157.6
  • It did; it stuck out, especially when he was lying down; but then, Owen's eyes looked "rather grown-up," too, in that they bulged, or appeared a trifle haunted in their sockets.
    p. 173.7
  • The audience rose to greet him The peak of his death-black hood was a trifle pointy, and too tall for Owen's small head; it had flopped over to one side, giving Owen a gnomish appearance and a slightly cocky, puckish attitude.
    p. 210.9
  • With grace, with gentleness, Owen pushed her hand and the handkerchief aside; his smile forgave her everything, even her clumsiness, and the Blessed Virgin tottered a trifle on her knees, as if she were preparing to swoon.
    p. 219.9
  • As a scholarship boy, he had a job—he was a waiter at a faculty table; the serving tray was half his size and he stood at attention beside it, as if it were a shield, while the students applauded him and the faculty smiled a trifle stiffly.
    p. 307.5
  • There was an old janitor who worked the weekends and who knew us from the regular school-year; he got us the best basketballs and clean towels out of the stock room, and sometimes he even let us swim in the indoor pool—I think he was a trifle retarded.
    p. 331.2
  • It was Larry Lish who told us that; he didn't like us, but Larry was a trifle ashamed that his mother was so intent on having Owen Meany thrown out of school.
    p. 383.5
  • I suppose his back was still a trifle sore from his impressive effort with Dr. Dolder's Volkswagen; but the headmaster didn't pay any attention to his back, either.
    p. 420.4
  • Once, in Winston Churchill Park, when there were children roughhousing—at least, moving quickly—I saw someone about his size, standing slightly to the side of whatever activity was consuming the others, looking a trifle tentative but very alert, certainly eager to try what the others were doing, but restraining himself, or else picking the exactly perfect moment to take charge.
    p. 471.9

There are no more uses of "trifle" flagged with this meaning in A Prayer for Owen Meany.

Typical Usage  (best examples)
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2  —1 use as in:
trifle with her affections
Definition
to treat somebody or something thoughtlessly or without respect
  • Because he'd wished my mother dead, my father said, God had punished him; God had taught Pastor Merrill not to trifle with prayer.
    p. 554.7

There are no more uses of "trifle with" flagged with this meaning in A Prayer for Owen Meany.

Typical Usage  (best examples)
Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary list — Onelook.com®