Definition of spiff in English:



[with object]spiff someone/something up
North American
  • Make someone or something attractive, smart, or stylish.

    ‘he arrived all spiffed up in a dinner jacket’
    • ‘In the process, the district itself has been spiffed up.’
    • ‘But spiffing up a kid can be an experience in itself, and a delightful one at that.’
    • ‘Spring-cleaning not only spiffs up your house, but it can shape you up, too.’
    • ‘Look at my dad, spiffed up in jodhpurs, ready to ride that bay mare he loved.’
    • ‘So anyway, the day I had my initial interview with the recruitment agency, I thought I'd better spiff myself up a bit.’
    • ‘Blocks and blocks of homes are being rehabbed and spiffed up, which is breathing life into many once-forlorn districts of the city.’
    • ‘I'm trying to spiff up my outward appearance and want to invest in a good shampoo & conditioner, skin regimen, and a bit of makeup.’
    • ‘First, Santa Monica spent roughly $180 million in public works and redevelopment funds spiffing up the beachfront area.’
    • ‘The lounge was upgraded with a new stage, light and sound systems, while the theater received new fabrics to spiff it up.’
    • ‘Roll up your sleeves and spiff up the place.’
    • ‘On the one hand, welcome to our place and thanks for helping spiff it up.’
    • ‘I've been thinking about spiffing this place up a bit.’
    • ‘Joe spiffs himself up and heads with Pip to Miss Havisham's, where he is so intimidated by the old woman that every time she asks him a question, he directs his reply at Pip.’
    • ‘Be sure to include the classics, the foods you know everyone will love; consider spiffing them up with unexpected ingredients, such as fresh dill in the potato salad.’
    • ‘You take an unknown from the provinces and you spiff him up.’
    • ‘Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent spiffing up the look, feel, and function of everything from refrigerators and washing machines to cell phones and MP3 players.’
    • ‘If you take an organization apart, spiff it up a little, and then put it back together, it usually doesn't work the same way.’
    • ‘More BMW touches are evident in the interior, which has been spiffed up to truly opulent standards.’
    • ‘On her wish list are televisions, phone access, repairs for a covered walkway, and spiffing up the airport's terrazzo floors.’
    • ‘I guess I'll just spiff myself up a bit then go over after classes.’


Late 19th century: perhaps from dialect spiff ‘well dressed’.