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 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
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
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 Danzig doesn’t transform any of these tracks into speed-metal songs or fiddle around with the melodies. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "Glenn Danzig Sings Elvis," 12 May 2020 At one point, recording at the legendary RCA Studio A in Nashville with his longtime producer, Dave Cobb, Isbell complained that Shires’s fiddle was too loud. David Peisner, New York Times, "Jason Isbell, Self-Doubt and the Album That Tested His Marriage," 11 May 2020 Potted philodendron trails down my bookcase, majesty palm and fiddle leaf fig trees flank my living room sofa, and a variety of succulents and cacti dot countertops and tables. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "Elevate Your Houseplant Collection with These Pretty Wall Planters Under $50," 7 Apr. 2020 The couple were framed by a fiddle-leaf fig in one corner, and just the faintest glimpse of their hallway. Daniel Wolfe, Quartz, "When your friends get married on Zoom because of a coronavirus pandemic," 22 Mar. 2020 The band includes: Andra Velis Simon, conductor/keyboard; Steven Romero Schaeffe, guitars; Emma Sheikh, fiddle and Tina Muñoz Pandya, drums. Hannah Herrera Greenspan, chicagotribune.com, "Booked it! Chicago casting announcements for August 15," 16 Aug. 2019 The two of them add fiddles, strings, stomps and claps to give the song an ambiance of full Celtic drama. Robbie Daw, Billboard, "'Songland' Recap: Gun Violence Casts a Shadow Over Macklemore Episode," 15 Aug. 2019 In Strayer's hands, the twang of a banjo is the sound of support and understanding, and Maguire's fiddle somehow has compassion and gravitas. Danielle Pergament, Allure, "The Dixie Chicks on the Price of Being Genuine," 6 Mar. 2020 The orchestra and life-sized puppets present the Russian story of the devil, a soldier, his lover, all the money in the world and the fiddle that wrecks everyone’s plans. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville shows this week: 'Star Wars,' Bob Weir, Chris Tucker, Dweezil Zappa & more," 28 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Oettinger was fiddling around with ways to mesh his distinctive background — 26 years as a disc jockey, master of ceremonies and auctioneer — and the Bay Area’s new shelter-in-place reality. Steve Rubenstein, SFChronicle.com, "Would you pay to watch giraffes and monkeys while sheltered in place? Oakland Zoo is banking on it," 4 Apr. 2020 Verdict: Gnog is an extremely relaxing game about fiddling with surreal puzzle boxes. Steven Strom, Ars Technica, "Gnog Review: Short and sweet puzzle unboxing," 12 Aug. 2018 The experts were not thrilled about the fact that patients can’t wear a mask while someone is fiddling around with their mouth, but had confidence in dentists’ procedures for minimizing the risk of infections of any kind. Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, "A Guide to Staying Safe as States Reopen," 7 May 2020 Then there are other vehicles swooping by, a droning straightaway, some fiddling with the car radio and some blissful cruising on motifs that were slipped into the song early on. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "Florian Schneider’s 10 Essential Songs, in Kraftwerk and Beyond," 7 May 2020 Somehow, while fiddling with bloody hands, President Trump managed to impose his ban on alien-arrivals from China on January 31, one day after the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic. Deroy Murdock, National Review, "Democrats Block Job-Saving Program," 19 Apr. 2020 Of course, your own travel needs will vary, but consider extending or fiddling with your itinerary to get more bang from your wedding buck. Washington Post, "Should I use points and miles to book wedding travel?," 26 Feb. 2020 In person, Chris Bianco is a ball of restless energy — always tweaking, always fiddling, always trying to tie a wild collection of thoughts together into a cohesive vision that will speak to the dining public. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "Here's what to order on Chris Bianco's new Italian-American menu at Pane Bianco Van Buren," 27 Jan. 2020 There is a palpable sense of denial to all this fiddling with the numbers. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "How Pundits Manipulate Math to Dismiss Sanders," 13 Feb. 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

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fiddle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fiddle. Accessed 6 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for fiddle

fiddle

noun
How to pronounce fiddle (audio)

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)

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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