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

Parker was the most prideful man ever to set his ego aside, over and over and over again, and willingly play third fiddle. Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News, "Parker’s pride drove Spurs until the end," 6 July 2018 And the Lopez family is caught in the middle, in need of treatments to regain full use of their hands so Angel can again type his television scripts and Theo can again play bluegrass music on his fiddle. Stephanie O'neill, Washington Post, "Father’s And Son’s Injuries Lead To The Mother Of All Therapy Bills," 29 June 2018 Eddy, who sings and plays the fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin and bass, will add her talent to this foot-stomping event. Lisa Gueli Regnante, Howard County Times, "Old-time folk music stars kick off Glen Mar concerts [Ellicott City]," 21 June 2018 His face was plastered on front pages across the state and across evening newscasts, while his opponent, Gov. Rick Scott, saw his latest trip to Puerto Rico relegated to second-fiddle status. Alex Daugherty, miamiherald, "Kids separated from their parents in Homestead are at the center of a political fight," 20 June 2018 The sound was clear and enjoyable across the spectrum, from high Celtic fiddles, to the Carters freestyle rapping about Forbes lists, to the growly guitars of Garbage. Adrienne So, WIRED, "The Best Wireless Workout Headphones," 11 July 2018 The song sagged under the weight of horns, guitars and keys, unable to be rescued by a skyscraping fiddle solo. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "Four ways Dave Matthews Band played a youthful 39th show at Ruoff amphitheater," 7 July 2018 Ever versatile, ever exploring, the Kronos Quartet partners with a player of the South Korean haegeum — a fiddle of sorts — for a concert presented by the World Music Institute and the Korean Cultural Center New York. David Allen, New York Times, "4 Classical Music Concerts to See in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 21 June 2018 Band members include Alex Berman on banjo and vocals, Ben Kolakowski on guitar and vocals, Alex Tocco on fiddle and vocals, Ryan Rogers on mandolin and Colin Rappa on bass fiddle. Susan Soldavin, Howard County Times, "Summer rocks with musical events and more [Clarksville]," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Less than a year after impeaching one president for fiddling fiscal accounts, her successor is on the ropes amid allegations of graft. Bloomberg.com, "Brazil’s Real Problem Is Economics -- Not Graft," 22 May 2017 Eventually, the awkward silences and nervous fiddling begin to sap energy from the plot rather than fuel it. Matthew J. Palm, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Slow to build, 'Gidion's Knot' pays off in tangle of wrenching emotions," 28 June 2018 Their shows include multi-harmonized vocals, instrumentals, country fiddling a capella hymns, pop jazz, standard and country music. Courant Community, "Community News For The Vernon Edition," 19 June 2018 News footage showed the man with the flag, holding onto the enormous red crane, at times fiddling with a rope. Ryan Parker, The Hollywood Reporter, "Hollywood Crane Climber Held in Hospital for Mental Evaluation," 9 Apr. 2018 Politicians have little incentive to fiddle with the system that brought them to power. The Economist, "Britain’s election watchdog barks at digital campaign methods," 28 June 2018 The same year AppleScript was released, Soghoian copped a used Macintosh from a friend and started fiddling with scripts. Jordan Mcmahon, WIRED, "How One Apple Programmer Got Apps Talking to Each Other," 2 June 2018 Here, light coming from the various mirrors is combined and fiddled with before finally traveling down a fiber-optic cable to reach the image-capturing sensors in the next room. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Building the world’s highest-resolution telescope," 9 July 2018 The manner in which Madame Géquil turns the tables is scarcely less ridiculous: While fiddling about in her lab one day, she is electrocuted. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Isabelle Huppert gets pyrotechnic in the enjoyably screw-loose 'Mrs. Hyde'," 21 June 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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Learn More about fiddle

Statistics for fiddle

Last Updated

28 Aug 2018

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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Comments on fiddle

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