Definition of toffee in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈtɒfi/


[mass noun]
1A kind of firm or hard sweet which softens when sucked or chewed, made by boiling together sugar and butter, often with other ingredients or flavourings added: a pound of walnut toffee
More example sentences
  • Generations of Scots have been weaned on the snack, which is actually a stack of wafers sandwiched together with toffee and coated in chocolate.
  • My one true passion at the time was to devour anything with abnormally large amounts of sugar, chocolate or toffee.
  • Refrigerate until the toffee is firm, about one hour.
1.1 [count noun] A small shaped piece of toffee.
Example sentences
  • You can find it in sodas, candies, toffees, even ice cream and chewing gum, but don't expect to get much of a dose.
  • Following recent takeovers, it has now extended its range to include wine gums, fruit pastilles, jelly beans and traditional boiled sweets, toffees and fudge.
  • She leads me into Chinese sweet shops where, alongside usual offerings of chocolates and toffees, there are buckets of candied dried shrimps and sugared squid.
2British informal, dated Nonsense; rubbish: his wife swallowed this load of old toffee
More example sentences
  • There's a lot of old toffee written and spoken about their almost torturous recording process, their suffering for their art and their shared obsession with getting everything aurally just so.


not be able to do something for toffee

British informal Be totally incompetent at doing something: Jill said I couldn’t sing for toffee


Early 19th century: alteration of taffy.

  • toff from mid 19th century:

    This is perhaps an alteration of tuft, once a term for titled undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge, who wore a gold tassel on their caps—social climbers and toadies were called tuft-hunters from the mid 18th century. The associations of the word may have influenced toffee-nosed or ‘snobbish’, which was originally military slang. Toffee seems to have been a desirable commodity to soldiers during the First World War— not be able to do something for toffee, or be totally incompetent at it, is first recorded in 1914 in the mouth of a British ‘Tommy’. Toffee (early 19th century) is an alteration of taffy (early 19th century), now mainly used in North America for a sweet resembling toffee. The Taffy that is a name for a Welshman is quite different, representing a supposed Welsh pronunciation of the name David or Dafydd.

Words that rhyme with toffee


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: tof¦fee

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.