So is “trife” (or “trifey”) an expanded sense of “trayf” that made the leap into the hip-hop world of the 1980s, or a greatly expanded use of “trifling” to mean “very bad, dishonest, unpleasant, dirty”?  It’s impossible to say, although I tend to lean towards the “triflng” theory simply because it involves a linear expansion of a common word and not a radical leap over cultural boundaries. Of course, it’s also possible that both theories are somewhat true; “trayf” is not an obscure term in urban areas, even to non-Jews, and its expanded sense of “no good, disgusting, wrong” makes that one little word very useful.

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1 comment on this post.
  1. Josh:

    Word to the mother, son! You ain’t frontin’!

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