fiddle

1 of 2

noun

fid·​dle ˈfi-dᵊl How to pronounce fiddle (audio)
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
[fiddle entry 2] chiefly British : swindle

fiddle

2 of 2

verb

fiddled; fiddling ˈfid-liŋ How to pronounce fiddle (audio)
ˈfi-dᵊl-iŋ

intransitive verb

1
: to play on a fiddle
2
a
: 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
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
3
: to alter or manipulate deceptively for fraudulent gain
accountants fiddling the booksStanley Cohen
fiddler
ˈfid-lər How to pronounce fiddle (audio)
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
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
They were also joined by band members Larry Campbell on fiddle and guitarist Joe Gore, Rankin told Rolling Stone. Brenton Blanchet, Peoplemag, 9 Feb. 2024 Their love story dates back to 2003, when Isbell first saw Shires playing the fiddle in Billy Joe Shaver's band. Shania Russell, EW.com, 8 Feb. 2024 Following fiddle player Gene Elders’ closing solo, the crowd cheered and several raised their cowboy hats to the stage. Megan Cardona, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 31 Jan. 2024 This can be a fiddle leaf fig in the family room, sweeping palms in a garden room or fresh flowers cut from the garden or even scooped up right from your local grocery store. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 18 Dec. 2023 Unlike the fiddle leaf fig, this indoor tree isn’t fussy about water and humidity. Savanna Bous, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Dec. 2023 And over the course of 10 minutes — knowing the whole time that Gee is watching from the other side of the two-way mirror — the cop plays the suspect like Frank is a virtuoso and Lane is his fiddle. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 13 Dec. 2023 Far from some ballad lament, this track churns with the propulsive rhythm of a runaway horse, features smoking fiddle work and highlights Marlowe’s standout vocals, especially his upper register. Jessica Nicholson, Billboard, 6 Nov. 2023 Celtic dance music from Kentucky to Ireland is on the bill, thanks to Helicon’s leader Ken Kolodner, who performs on hammer dulcimer and fiddle. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 8 Dec. 2023
Verb
Theo woke to the sound of fiddling and scraping in her room but didn’t take the blanket from over her head. Addie Citchens, The New Yorker, 5 Feb. 2024 The parties unite behind fiddling, while the nation races off a financial cliff risking bankruptcy in our lifetime. Armstrong Williams, Baltimore Sun, 2 Feb. 2024 Plus, each one comes with three presets, for those who don’t want to fiddle and just want to rock. Spin Contributor, SPIN, 18 Dec. 2023 Editor’s picks Flatland Cavalry is Cordero (vocals, acoustic guitar), Jason Albers (drums, percussion), Jonathan Saenz (bass, background vocals), Reid Dillon (electric guitar), Wesley Hall (fiddle), and Adam Gallegos (keys). Josh Crutchmer, Rolling Stone, 14 Nov. 2023 For instance, with some fiddling, theorists might find that supernova shock waves can compress smaller gas clouds and help them to collapse into pairs of tiny stars more readily than expected. Quanta Magazine, 13 Nov. 2023 Special mention goes to the blazing final movement fiddling of concertmaster Audrey Wright (also of the New York Philharmonic). Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 9 Nov. 2023 For Buffett, escapism was not merely something fun, some fiddling flight of fancy that can be taken up or discarded at will. Drew M. Dalton, Fortune, 10 Sep. 2023 The pub of course is the warm heart of the community, with fiddlers fiddling while customers enjoy a Guinness (Babycham for the ladies) and sometimes dance a jig. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near fiddle

Cite this Entry

“Fiddle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fiddle. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

fiddle

1 of 2 noun
fid·​dle ˈfid-ᵊl How to pronounce fiddle (audio)

fiddle

2 of 2 verb
fiddled; fiddling
ˈfid-liŋ,
-ᵊl-iŋ
1
: to play on a fiddle
2
a
: to move the hands or fingers restlessly
b
: to spend time in aimless activity
c
fiddler
ˈfid-lər How to pronounce fiddle (audio)
-ᵊl-ər
noun

More from Merriam-Webster on fiddle

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