fiddle

noun
fid·​dle | \ ˈfi-dᵊl \

Definition of fiddle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : violin
2 : a device (such as a slat, rack, or light railing) to keep objects from sliding off a table aboard ship
3 : fiddlesticks used as an interjection
4 [ 2fiddle ] chiefly British : swindle

fiddle

verb
fiddled; fiddling\ ˈfid-​liŋ , ˈfi-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of fiddle (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to play on a fiddle
2a : to move the hands or fingers restlessly
b : to spend time in aimless or fruitless activity : putter, tinker fiddled around with the engine for hours
c : meddle, tamper
d : to make minor manual movements especially to adjust something fiddled with the radio knobs

transitive verb

1 : to play (something) on a fiddle fiddle a tune
2 : cheat, swindle
3 : to alter or manipulate deceptively for fraudulent gain accountants fiddling the books— Stanley Cohen

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Other Words from fiddle

Verb

fiddler \ ˈfid-​lər , ˈfi-​dᵊl-​ər \ noun

Examples of fiddle in a Sentence

Noun

an expert with the fiddle arrested for a tax fiddle

Verb

Nero fiddled while Rome burned. the executive fiddled with a pen as she impatiently waited for the meeting to begin
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Overclocking is typically a trial-and-error process: increase the clock speed, run some intensive workloads to make sure everything works OK, maybe fiddle with the GPU voltage to eke out a bit more stability. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Nvidia makes GPU overclocking a lot smarter with “Scanner”," 14 Sep. 2018 The Kolodners are well regarded for their innovative and unique interpretations of traditional and original fiddle tunes. Lisa Gueli Regnante, Howard County Times, "Old-time folk music stars kick off Glen Mar concerts [Ellicott City]," 21 June 2018 Monroe’s first collaborators were his much older brothers, Birch and Charlie, who played fiddle and guitar in rural Kentucky with an adolescent Bill tagging along. Eddie Dean, WSJ, "‘Bill Monroe’ and ‘Blue Grass Generation’ Review: The Blue Grass Boy," 27 Sep. 2018 At that time, the Seahawks were, at best, the fourth fiddle in town, with the Mariners breaking through in 1995, the Sonics going to the Finals in 1996, and UW football a perennial power. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "With Paul Allen’s death, it’s unclear what happens next with Seahawks ownership," 15 Oct. 2018 But the company wanted to recruit more from the South Bay area, so the company created an official second home base to attract talent who wouldn’t be content in what might be perceived as a second-fiddle office. Te-ping Chen, WSJ, "Lessons for Amazon in Running Multiple Headquarters," 5 Nov. 2018 The sun-loving fiddle leaf fig tree — a popular choice for its dramatic, glossy leaves — only needs water when its soil is dry to the touch. Alexis Jonnson, Good Housekeeping, "3 Nature-Inspired Ways to Transform Your Home," 18 July 2018 Around, a collection of fine-spun harmonies written to fiddles, ukulele and banjo, and co-produced by Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Paul McCartney). Tatiana Cirisano, Billboard, "Folk Power Trio I'm With Her On Crafting Its Name Before Hillary Clinton's Campaign," 26 Jan. 2018 The rest of the night saw the stage of the town hall graced with entertainment from around the world, including performances by students from the Intensive Education Academy, Irish fiddle players, South American art and folklore music, and more. Courant Community, "Hello! West Hartford Hosts Annual Cultural Celebration," 9 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And there's something more disruptive about pulling out your phone and fiddling with your screen rather than taking some quick glances at your watch. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "A look at the Apple Watch’s ECG, from someone who needs it," 12 Dec. 2018 Nobody was exactly fiddling, but there’s more than a faint whiff of carbon in the air. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "California’s Tech Titans Fight Fires of Their Own," 16 Nov. 2018 But that changed in the Obama era, when McNaughton took to his canvas in order to depict Obama as a Constitution-burning, democracy-hating demagogue who spent his time alternately fiddling and golfing while the country itself goes up in flames. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "To Trump fans, #MAGA is more than a slogan. It’s an aesthetic.," 8 Aug. 2018 The path towards a third term involves fiddling with the constitutional court, which ruled in 2016 that Mr Kabila could stay in office while waiting for elections to be organised. The Economist, "Congo’s Kabila chases an unconstitutional, unpopular re-election," 14 June 2018 Lannom recently circulated to city commissioners' offices a tax calculation table that allows officials to project revenues while fiddling with tax and deduction rates. Gordon R. Friedman, OregonLive.com, "Mayor Ted Wheeler in talks to raise Portland business taxes," 17 Apr. 2018 There was no fiddling around, pressing on the sun, then the foreground, then the sun again to get a color balance that looked true to life. Hanna Howard, Teen Vogue, "iPhone XS Camera Review," 21 Sep. 2018 China could have waited for Western technocrats to fiddle around on the margins until the same cost reductions were achieved, but who knows how long that would have taken. David Roberts, Vox, "China made solar panels cheap. Now it’s doing the same for electric buses.," 24 July 2018 Meanwhile, other attendees, granted passage to a VIP section, listened to a three-minute meditation app and fiddled with new kitchen tools. Suzanne Vranica, WSJ, "WW International Looks Beyond Dieting," 29 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fiddle.' 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 fiddle

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for fiddle

Noun

Middle English fithele, fethill, fydel, going back to Old English *fithele (assumed from the derivative fithelere "fiddler"), going back to Germanic *fiþlō- (whence Middle Dutch vedele "stringed instrument," Old High German fidula, fidala, Old Norse fiðla), perhaps of onomatopoeic origin

Note: See note at viol.

Verb

Middle English fithelyn, fydelin, derivative of fithele, fydel fiddle entry 1

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Statistics for fiddle

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fiddle

The first known use of fiddle was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for fiddle

fiddle

noun

English Language Learners Definition of fiddle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a dishonest way of getting money

fiddle

verb

English Language Learners Definition of fiddle (Entry 2 of 2)

: to play a violin

: to secretly change (something, such as information) in a harmful or dishonest way

fiddle

noun
fid·​dle | \ ˈfi-dᵊl \

Kids Definition of fiddle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: violin

fiddle

verb
fiddled; fiddling

Kids Definition of fiddle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to play on a fiddle
2 : to move the hands or fingers restlessly She kept fiddling with her ring.
3 : to spend time in aimless activity They fiddled around and accomplished nothing.
4 : to change or handle in a useless way He fiddled with the controls.
5 : to handle in a harmful or foolish way : tamper Someone has been fiddling with the lock.

Other Words from fiddle

fiddler \ ˈfid-​lər \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on fiddle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fiddle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fiddle

Spanish Central: Translation of fiddle

Nglish: Translation of fiddle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fiddle for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fiddle

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