What Does The Word 'JIFFY" Really Mean?

We've all heard the word 'jiffy"; and, we know what it means. You know, like "Hurry up; we have to leave in a jiffy!", "She solved that puzzle in a jiffy.", and stuff like that. It means really quickly.

But, did you know the word 'jiffy' actually has a specific meaning? Well, that's not exactly right - the word 'jiffy' has several specific meanings depending on some things. But all the definitions of 'jiffy' have to do with periods of time - and, very short periods of time, at that.

In dealing with electronics alternating currents operate at 1/60th of a second or 1/50th of a second depending on the type power supply system being used. So, a 'jiffy' here is either 1/60th of a second or 1/50th of a second.

If you are dealing with computer systems, you should know that each computer has an internal clock. A computer's clock "ticks" at a specific rate - the rate depending on the computer. Usually, computers' clocks "tick" at either 1/1000th of a second or 1/100th of a second. In computer jargon a 'jiffy' is the period of time between computers' "ticks". Your wristwatch "ticks" at a rate of 1 per second.

In computer animation a 'jiffy' is the period of time between the display of each "picture" frame - usually 1/100th of a second.

In physics, chemistry, and quantum physics a 'jiffy' is defined as 1 light-foot. Or, the time it takes light to travel one foot (i.e., 0.000000000000000000000003 seconds).

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