1 of 2


fet·​tle ˈfe-tᵊl How to pronounce fettle (audio)
: state or condition of health, fitness, wholeness, spirit, or form
often used in the phrase in fine fettle
I proved to her I was in fine fettle by consuming a herculean portion of eggs scrambled with onions and smoked salmon.Lawrence Sanders
He stopped practicing or even warming up before tournament rounds in order to spare strain on the risky hip. His golf game was nonetheless in fine fettle—provided he could keep swinging.Alfred Wright


2 of 2


fettled; fettling ˈfet-liŋ How to pronounce fettle (audio)

transitive verb

: to cover or line the hearth of (something, such as a reverberatory furnace) with loose material (such as sand or gravel)

Examples of fettle in a Sentence

Noun a visit to the relatives on the other side of the state revealed them all to be in fine fettle
Recent Examples on the Web
That level of hostility put her in fine fettle to deal with Kevin James’ gang of escaped cons, who arrived seeking a mysterious item at the family’s summer house. Dennis Harvey, Variety, 26 May 2023 The three women are in fine fettle, with dog-walking grandmother Suzie finding local fame (if not fortune) on the radio and septuagenarian Judith still crafting fiendishly clever crosswords and scandalizing local birdwatchers by skinny-dipping even in winter. Yvonne Zipp, The Christian Science Monitor, 16 May 2023 Kettenring has some fine talent to work with; the show has all kinds of familiar local faces in the cast including the veteran performers George Keating and Richard Strimer stripping away the years in fine fettle by dancing up a storm in the ensemble. Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune, 16 Sep. 2022 Gates performs most of the mechanical service himself, pulling on dungarees to lube suspension joints on a weekly basis, keeping the sewing machine straight-six engine in fine fettle, and in pre- and post-COVID times, driving the cars as often as possible. Mark Ewing, Forbes, 3 July 2022 Turkey’s Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival, which historically has always been the country’s prime local cinema catalyst, stands as testimony that despite impediments due to the pandemic and the country’s economy Turkish filmmakers are in fine fettle. Nick Vivarelli, Variety, 2 Oct. 2021 The inner movements went along just fine, with horns in fine fettle in the jolly scherzo. Dallas News, 18 Nov. 2022 Staff members modified these new spaces to suit the leggy wading birds, adding feeding pools, trimming low-hanging tree branches and raising the sprinklers designed to keep their feathers in fine fettle. Emily Anthes, New York Times, 11 Oct. 2022 Some few days later she was found in excellent fettle at a hotel in Harrogate, Yorkshire, 250 miles away, registered as Mrs. Teresa Neele from South Africa. Frances Wilson, The New York Review of Books, 20 Oct. 2022
Audi engineers have had some fun fettling the underpinnings of the GT, which, with all the ministrations of carbon fiber, carbon-ceramic brakes, and whatnot, loses a mere 33 pounds and weighs in at a still substantial 4,565 pounds. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 6 Feb. 2024 Original owners of these Springfield Rolls-Royces would have had drivers whose job was not just to steer and stop and shift all four gears, but to fettle the mechanicals, grease the Alamite fittings, change the belts and polish, polish, polish. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 5 July 2022 Even my new friend here— a show car almost certainly hand-fettled for the occasion —suffers from faults of panel alignment. Dan Neil, WSJ, 8 Dec. 2017 View 39 Photos If today’s Leaf is that one-percenter, this new-generation car is formed and fettled to be a 10-percenter. Bengt Halvorson, Car and Driver, 6 Sep. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fettle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb and Noun

British dialect, to set in order, get ready, from Middle English fetlen to shape, prepare; perhaps akin to Old English fetian to fetch — more at fetch

First Known Use


1740, in the meaning defined above


1881, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fettle was in 1740

Dictionary Entries Near fettle

Cite this Entry

“Fettle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fettle. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a state of fitness or order : condition
in fine fettle
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!