Mobile Banner


a period of time


jiffy = Augenblick, Minütchen —— in a jiffy = augenblicklich, ratzfatz, gleich, sofort, im Handumdrehen, ruck-zuck, im Nu —— Half a jiffy! = Augenblick! —— in a jiffy (very fast) = im Hui —— Wait a jiffy! = Augenblick! —— I won't be a jiffy = Ich komme gleich —— Jiffy bag® = gepolsterte/gefütterte Versandtasche



"Trust in pricing can vanish in a JIFFY; the effect is magnified on weekends, when trading volumes are thinner.”

The Economist - ‘Three mechanisms for crypto contagion’ (23rd June 2022)

Did you


- a very short time; a moment



“Jiffy”, a term used to indicate a very brief moment, has both a surprisingly complex history and precise scientific applications.

Originally appearing in the 18th century, its origins are not completely clear, though it could have evolved from words meaning 'glimpse' or 'shine'.

It took a more scientific turn in 1926 when Gilbert Newton Lewis proposed the "jiffy" as a unit of time equal to the span needed for light to travel one centimeter in a vacuum.

Today, 'jiffy' has different super-fast meanings depending on the field. For instance, in electronics, it refers to the period of an alternating current power cycle, while in computing, it varies based on the system's hardware. In physics and chemistry, a jiffy is the time for light to travel a specified distance.

So, the next time you say “l'll be back in a jiffy”, you might be promising more precision than you think!


Researchers at the British Ecological Society have discovered that the perception of time varies across different animal species.

Small animals, flying creatures, and marine predators experience time much quicker due to their high-paced lifestyles. For instance, dragonflies can detect changes 300 times per second (p.sec), and the pied flycatcher, a bird species, can process changes at a rate of 146x p.sec. Dogs process at 75x p.sec and humans at 65x p.sec. Interestingly, terrestrial predators perceive time slower than their aquatic counterparts.

Variation in time perception is believed to be an evolutionary adaptation to help these species react to rapid environmental changes. Such detailed perception of changes is very useful if you move quickly or need to pinpoint the trajectory of moving prey.


- a very short period of time

bat of an eye, beat, bit, blink (of an eye), breath, eyeblink, flash, fraction of a second, half a mo, half a sec (a second, a tick), heartbeat, instant, jiff, JIFFY, less than no time, little while, microsecond, millisecond, min, minute, moment, moment in time, mo, nanosecond, next to no time, no time (at all), nothing flat,  point in time, sec, second, shake, short order (period, spell, stretch of time, time, while), snap, split-second, the twinkling of an eye, three winks, tick, timely manner, trice, twinkle, twinkling (of an eye), two shakes, (of a lamb's tail), ticks, wink

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“Modern padded envelopes can be closed and opened in a JIFFY — and by the way, did you know that the brand name ‘JIFFY Bag’ was registered by the Sealed Air Corporation in 1964.”

THANKS to Kirstin for suggesting today’s word some time ago.

HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations.

Every month, I spend evening and weekend hours with my family researching and writing your daily OWAD. It remains FREE, AD-free, and ALIVE thanks to voluntary donations from appreciative readers.

If you aren’t already, please also consider supporting us - even the equivalent of a single cup of coffee a month will help us cover mailing, site hosting, and maintenance costs. Just head over to DonorBox:

or bank transfer to Paul Smith
IBAN: DE75 7316 0000 0002 5477 40
Please use your email-address as ‘Verwendungszweck’

Thank you,

More Word Quizzes: