Etymology
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fife (n.)

1550s, from German Pfeife "fife, pipe," from Old High German pfifa; the English word is perhaps via French fifre (15c.) from the same Old High German word. Ultimately imitative (see pipe (n.1)). German musicians provided music for most European courts in those days. As a verb from 1590s. Agent noun fifer is recorded earlier (1530s). Fife and drum is from 1670s.

updated on December 07, 2020

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Definitions of fife from WordNet

fife (n.)
a small high-pitched flute similar to a piccolo; has a shrill tone and is used chiefly to accompany drums in a marching band;
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.