I was wondering what does these particular words mean

You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject forever.

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These lines were in the novel "Pride and Prejudice" in chapter 58, it was said by a man called "Darcy" who wanted to know if "Elizabeth" a good looking girl, loves him or not.

I got the meaning of trifle which is

treat without seriousness or respect.

and I also got the meaning of word generous

showing a readiness to give more of something, especially money, than is strictly necessary or expected.

Unfortunately I couldn't link the two words together to know what does this quote mean, so can anybody help me?

  • Additional context would be helpful. Mar 1, 2020 at 18:50
  • 1
    One synonym of generous is considerate, which makes the phrase easier to understand. In other words, Darcy is uncouraging Elizabeth to be honest about her feelings, and at the same time flattering her. Phrased informally, "You are too kind to mess me around." Mar 1, 2020 at 20:22

2 Answers 2


It looks like he's saying he'll take what she says at face value because she's kind and honest. A lesser woman might tell a man she isn't romantically interested when she actually is (or vice versa, the quote doesn't quite disambiguate), but Elizabeth is "too generous" to do so.


The context I see is:'You are more than willing to treat me with honesty and respect than to speak indirectly or teasingly. What you said when you spoke to my aunt last night, has given me hope that you might consider me differently now; which I could scarcely have allowed myself to hope for before. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once; my affections and wishes have not changed.' -> This is the quintessential essence of human emotion and relations -to be able to change your mind and reconcile your differences with another person. To change from hate to love or at least friendship. Probably the greatest lesson we all need to learn.

  • 1
    I don't see how this answers the question.
    – Eddie Kal
    Sep 8, 2020 at 5:59
  • Could you explain how this answers the question? OP is concerned about the usage of "generous" and "trifle". Could you edit your post to address OP's concerns directly? It looks like your first sentence tries to address OP's concern, but could you explain clearly how you arrived at that? Although the lesson is nice, this is not really a forum for literary analysis. Could you explain how you arrived at this meaning by explaining the usage of the words and patterns of the English language? That'd be more instructive for learners.
    – Eddie Kal
    Sep 10, 2020 at 22:50

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