fiddle

noun
fid·​dle | \ ˈfi-dᵊl How to pronounce fiddle (audio) \

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 How to pronounce fiddling (audio) , 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 How to pronounce fiddler (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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Fans have been speculating that an album could be in the works since last year after Maines shared a series of photos featuring Antonoff, a fiddle, and the hashtag #dcx2018. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Dixie Chicks confirm on Instagram that a new album is coming," 26 June 2019 In addition to musical acts, the festival will include workshops on guitar, fiddle, banjo, ukulele and mandolin, as well as dance instructors teaching hula, square dance, swing and two-step. Taylor Mims, Billboard, "Taj Mahal & Peter Rowan to Headline Hawaii's Debut Kauai Folk Festival," 4 June 2019 Clinton Davis, a folk musician based in San Diego, performs on guitar, banjo, fiddle, harmonica, mandolin and piano. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Girl Scouts donate trash sorting cans to Alta Vista Botanical Gardens," 17 June 2019 Tyler researched instruments that immigrants brought from all over the world, using the rebec, hurdy-gurdy, chitarrone, accordion and fiddle, as well as Native American flutes and drums, to evoke a sense of history. Shannon L. Bowen, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys: 'Maniac,' 'Romanoffs,' 'Succession' Composers Reveals Unusual Inspirations," 7 June 2019 Stephen Holben, Lakewood Reality taking hold TheTrumpster is playing Democrats like a dime store fiddle. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: DIA debacle; Misuse of office; Reality taking hold; Don’t drink, don’t smoke … (6/3/19)," 3 June 2019 But his bigger target is authenticity fetishism, the backward-looking, vinyl-loving, locavore culture that distracts, like Nero’s fiddle, from natural and social disaster. Julian Lucas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 10 May 2019 Well, for one, the Georgia native's touring band includes a banjo player and a fiddle player. Ed Masley, azcentral, "What makes Luke Bryan country? The singer did his best to answer that in Phoenix," 14 June 2019 Kemp was accompanied by Barry, who has been learning fiddle the past year or so, and her daughter Gail Elsea on banjo. Ralph Berrier Jr., Washington Post, "89-year-old Rhoda Kemp builds her first banjo," 10 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And the lid makes a satisfactory flick, like fiddling with a lighter. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Denver Post, "The best way to review wireless earbuds is to have Sammy Hagar headbang with them," 7 July 2019 To some traditionalists, such recklessness is tantamount to changing the Declaration of Independence, in other words fiddling about with a set of words which, once delivered, was meant to stand for all time. The Economist, "A new rendering of Christianity’s best-known supplication," 8 June 2019 My husband fiddled with the telescope, sharpening the image in it. Theresa Vargas, Washington Post, "It’s that time again — when mosquitoes feast and we disagree on what to do about them," 22 June 2019 Reis fiddles with sentences until the punctuation is just right. Nic Garcia, The Denver Post, "Marlon Reis finding his voice as Colorado’s first gentleman," 13 June 2019 Chor Charoenying fiddled with the shin guards tucked inside her yellow socks, her eyes still locked on the grass. Andrew Keh, New York Times, "U.S. Takes Apart Thailand and the Record Book at the Women’s World Cup," 11 June 2019 The state has fiddled with spraying pesticides and some years back went as far as introducing a light oil sheen on stagnant ponds to keep the larvae from emerging. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Instead of zapping Alaska’s mosquitoes, build a birdhouse," 6 June 2019 Club goers are drinking, mingling, and fiddling with their phones when a shooter approaches from the top of the screen, the short video clip shows. Amir Vera, Patrick Oppmann And Maria Ramirez Uribe, CNN, "Red Sox legend David Ortiz is in a Boston hospital after being shot in the Dominican Republic. Here's what we know," 11 June 2019 Nashville bluegrass group the Infamous Stringdusters have never been afraid to fiddle with the genre. Ross Raihala, Twin Cities, "Trampled by Turtles and Railroad Earth headline the region’s largest bluegrass festival in Eau Claire," 6 June 2019

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

17 Jul 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)

informal
British : a dishonest way of getting money

fiddle

verb

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

informal : to play a violin
chiefly British, informal : to secretly change (something, such as information) in a harmful or dishonest way

fiddle

noun
fid·​dle | \ ˈfi-dᵊl How to pronounce fiddle (audio) \

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

Comments on fiddle

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