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 [fiddle entry 2] chiefly British : swindle

fiddle

verb
fiddled; fiddling\ ˈfid-​liŋ How to pronounce fiddle (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 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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Mom would play the piano and dad would play fiddle or guitar. Sid Evans, Southern Living, "Jenee Fleenor Talks Pimento Cheese, Touring With Blake Shelton, And More on Biscuits & Jam," 27 Apr. 2021 Larkin Poe, the sibling band of Rebecca and Megan Lovell, on mandolin and Dobro, Brittany Haas on fiddle, and the Punch Brothers’ Paul Kowert on bass also joined Bentley for the rendition. Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone, "Dierks Bentley, the War and Treaty Cover U2’s ‘Pride’ on 2021 ACM Awards," 19 Apr. 2021 The country veteran injected a shot of adrenaline into the 1984 classic by including some furious fiddle and soulful harmonies -- courtesy of The War and Treaty’s Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Blount -- along with his own acoustic guitar. Jason Lipshutz, Billboard, "Dierks Bentley & The War and Treaty Cover a U2 Classic at the 2021 ACM Awards," 18 Apr. 2021 Davis, 62, has assembled a crack backing band — including Andy Hamburger on drums, Dan Hovey on guitar, Russ Rodgers on bass, Dan Quinn on keyboards, Keith Arneson on banjo and Myron Prosser on fiddle — and a vast cast of guest singers. Washington Post, "Friday at the Birchmere: A living tribute to the musical artists we lost in 2020," 15 Mar. 2021 Children from those families and others played lacrosse with fiddle sticks in their respective backyards, and the families vacationed together in locales like the Outer Banks, North Carolina. Edward Lee, baltimoresun.com, "Towson-Hofstra game a mini reunion for families on opposing sides | COLLEGE LACROSSE NOTES," 15 Apr. 2021 Seven instrumentalists and three speaking parts will tell the tale of a soldier who trades his fiddle to the devil for a lifetime of riches. oregonlive, "5 things to do this week: Ashland Film Fest, Portland Opera, and 30 days of Doggie Dash," 14 Apr. 2021 The crowd loved the openers, then turned on Thompson and company, their fiddle tunes and songs of sea dogs and magic. Rj Smith, Los Angeles Times, "A beloved musician’s memoir is cause for celebration ... and mourning," 6 Apr. 2021 Lexington Field, a fiddle rock group from San Diego, will kick things off from about 2 to 4 p.m. in Encinitas, cruising along the Pacific Coast Highway from Encinitas to Del Mar. Sara Butler, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Wonderbus brings live music back to the streets of San Diego," 17 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Playtests run in the background, and designers fiddle with minor details in service of gameplay, moving or even cutting tiny assets to keep the game running smoothly. Mikhail Klimentov, Washington Post, "Here’s how Breeze, ‘Valorant’s’ newest map, was built," 26 Apr. 2021 The Bengals can fiddle with the orange and white Creamsicle look. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, "Doc's Morning Line: This is the best thing UC Bearcats fans can do for Wes Miller," 15 Apr. 2021 In her Santa Barbara home kitchen, Mendoza started to fiddle with ingredients like Lion's Mane (a mushroom said to support memory function); ashwagandha (a root said to reduce stress); and reishi (a mushroom said to calm the nervous system). Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, "Here’s what it’s like when Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex invests in your startup," 2 Apr. 2021 Bigger and more corrosive lies, ones that don’t just fiddle with figures but reshape reality, have found extraordinary traction in Hungary. New York Times, "The Art of the Lie? The Bigger the Better," 10 Jan. 2021 The kind that is controlled by an out-of-touch elite who fiddle and extort while the economy burns. The Economist, "No way to run a country A big blast should lead to big change in Lebanon," 8 Aug. 2020 Otters tend to fiddle with rocks more often when hungry, which made the researchers wonder: Do these wanton displays of dexterity make otters better at certain mealtime tasks, like picking crab meat from a shell? Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Otters ‘Juggle,’ but the Behavior’s Function Remains Mysterious," 13 May 2020 Once voting starts, stuff the ballot boxes or fiddle the tallies. The Economist, "Second time lucky Malawi’s re-run election is a victory for democracy," 4 July 2020 The behavior remains as a vestige in our small gestures, such as when mothers fiddle with their toddlers’ hair. Rebecca Renner, National Geographic, "Why some people can't resist crowds despite the pandemic," 24 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for fiddle

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for fiddle

Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fiddle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fiddle. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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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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Comments on fiddle

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