Understand why we do what we do :P

“I’ll be back in a jiffy!” What is a “jiffy”?

So we have heard this expression a number of times, all our friends, maybe even family, random strangers who we just met have used this mysterious word called “jiffy”.

We make sense of it to be a short span of time. But what is its origin and what exactly does it mean?

So as we all assume “jiffy” just means a short span of time, described in Wikipedia as:-

Jiffy is an informal term for any unspecified short period of time, as in “I’ll be back in a jiffy“. From this it has acquired a number of more precise applications for short, very short, or extremely short periods of time.


But soon, we started measuring this term “jiffy”, and now it does have a measurement.

In its earliest use, jiffy was described as the time taken by light to travel 1 centimeter, which is approximately 33.3564 picoseconds.

Later it did become standardized in electronics as the time taken between alternating current power cycles, which is about 1/50 or 1/60 of a second.

So now the next time someone does promise to come back in a jiffy, start measuring for 33.3564 picoseconds or 1/50th of a second and let them know they were late 😛


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