fet·​tle | \ ˈfe-tᵊl How to pronounce fettle (audio) \

Definition of fettle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: state or condition of health, fitness, wholeness, spirit, or form often used in the phrase in fine fettleI proved to her I was in fine fettle by consuming a herculean portion of eggs scrambled with onions and smoked salmon.— Lawrence SandersHe 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


fettled; fettling\ ˈfet-​liŋ How to pronounce fettling (audio) , ˈfe-​tᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of fettle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

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Synonyms for fettle

Synonyms: Noun

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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: Noun To avoid a repeat this year, organizers enlisted the help of a company that usually lays the tarmac for airport runways and the track remained in fine fettle throughout. Matias Grez, CNN, "Maximilian Günther claims Santiago ePrix to become youngest Formula E winner in history," 18 Jan. 2020 The Ritz, a smart London hotel where Margaret Thatcher spent her last days, is in fine fettle, turning a neat annual profit and valued in the region of £800m—not bad for a property bought for a piffling £75m in 1995. The Economist, "Who will buy Britain’s Telegraph?," 31 Oct. 2019 West Ham are ready to let go of striker Jordan Hugill in January despite him starting the Championship season in fine fettle. SI.com, "West Ham Ready to Sell Jordan Hugill in January Despite Strong Start to the Season," 8 Oct. 2019 In the central bit of nonsense, Nick visits a soothsayer (Ross Lehman in hilarious fettle) to try and learn the name of his rival’s biggest hit and then turn that into a musical to catch a new fashion. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Marriott’s ‘Something Rotten!’ is good, clever musical fun at old Shakespeare’s expense," 9 Sep. 2019 The Reds head into the clash in fine fettle, having earned their fifth successive Premier League victory thanks to a 3-1 win over Newcastle - goals from Sadio Mane (2) and Mohamed Salah sealing all three points. SI.com, "Napoli vs Liverpool Preview: Where to Watch, Buy Tickets, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News," 15 Sep. 2019 But her brother’s in not-so-fine fettle: Grew a long, grasping tail While the hag brewed her ale. Washington Post, "Style Invitational Week 1348: Same Difference," 5 Sep. 2019 The reigning Premier League top scorer has started the season in fine fettle having already scored twice in three games. SI.com, "Arsenal: The XI That Should Start Against Tottenham," 31 Aug. 2019 An apprentice practices the procedure over and over, as if taking lessons in an immensely complicated musical instrument; the teacher looks for the sharpness, the fettle that comes with a hundred attempts. Siddhartha Mukherjee, The New Yorker, "The Promise and Price of Cellular Therapies," 15 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Even my new friend here— a show car almost certainly hand-fettled for the occasion —suffers from faults of panel alignment. Dan Neil, WSJ, "How Tesla Electrified Rivals at the L.A. Auto Show," 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, "2018 Nissan Leaf: Turning Over Anew," 6 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fettle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fettle


1740, in the meaning defined above


1881, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fettle

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

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Time Traveler for fettle

Time Traveler

The first known use of fettle was in 1740

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Statistics for fettle

Last Updated

28 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fettle.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fettle. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for fettle


How to pronounce fettle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fettle

informal : a person's physical state or condition

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More from Merriam-Webster on fettle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fettle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fettle

Spanish Central: Translation of fettle

Comments on fettle

What made you want to look up fettle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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