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

The tunes are often traditional folk numbers, played on fiddles, the piano, the accordion and the clarsach (bagpipes) in cosy pubs. G.k. | Glasgow And Edinburgh, The Economist, "A young Scottish pianist marries folk with jazz," 9 Aug. 2019 Price range from $4 to $5 for some house plants to up to $150 for a prized cactus and $175 for a tall fiddle leaf fig tree. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland.com, "‘Plants for everyone’: Urban Planting Cleveland opens this weekend," 29 Aug. 2019 Davis’ instruments include guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, piano and harmonica. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Local Sierra Club marks environmental milestones," 21 Aug. 2019 At Duke, Reddish mostly played third-fiddle behind Williamson and Barrett. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "NBA rookies say Zion Williamson will win Rookie of the Year, but Cam Reddish will have better career," 20 Aug. 2019 On Saturday, enjoy the music of The Baker Family, Ken and Brad Kolodner, Charm City Junction, The Bluegrass Brothers, Junior Sisk Band; and a fiddle, banjo and bass workshop with the Baker Family Bluegrass Band. Shiela Johnson, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "North Carroll: Manchester Valley Stampede; bluegrass event returns as Upperco Music Festival; ‘Heroin Still Kills’ showing," 19 Aug. 2019 With all this activity, coaches and players, plus Senegal itself, are seeing their second-fiddle sport in a new way: as an opportunity. Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times, "The N.B.A. Is Pushing Into Africa. Can It Compete With Soccer?," 23 July 2019 Beneath the sprawling branches of oak and pecan trees, director Frank Martinez led 13 members of the FM Studios Youth Orchestra through a medley of songs Crockett might have played on his fiddle. Vincent T. Davis, ExpressNews.com, "The Alamo celebrates Davy Crockett’s 233rd birthday anniversary," 17 Aug. 2019 Listen to live Irish music, replete with the traditional sounds of fiddles and spoons; draft a series of profiles on local shopkeepers; or photograph everyday life on the streets of Galway and the quays along the River Corrib. National Geographic, "Ireland High School Expedition," 12 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

For example, the ratio of white to brown sugar dictates the difference between a crispy or chewy cookie, a distinction emphasized by fiddling around with sugar’s critical 356°F caramelization temperature. Mika Mckinnon, Quartz, "Astronauts will bake cookies in space to see how they cook in zero gravity," 1 Aug. 2019 Steer clear of new hookups and don't fiddle around with your banking. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive.com, "Horoscope for July 7, 2019: Aquarius, put things in proportion; Capricorn, balance the heavy load," 7 July 2019 Amidst all the tumult, a report surfaced that in spring-practice team meetings, Brown was frequently late, then fiddled with various tablets and smartphones, checking bank accounts and liking Instagram photos. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Antonio Brown floats onto Raiders’ stage with a thud. What’s next?," 14 Aug. 2019 Fears about benefit fiddling are at their lowest level in three decades. The Economist, "British attitudes to welfare have undergone a quiet revolution," 11 July 2019 In between half innings, an MLB official seated by the third-base dugout fiddled with the iPhone so the earpiece regained connection. Jacob Bogage, courant.com, "’Robot ump’ calls first Atlantic League baseball game with one hitch and no controversy," 11 July 2019 Vlad Miftakhov, a senior in electrical engineering, fiddled with his autonomous trash-collecting robot to clean sidewalks and lawns. Teresa Watanabe, latimes.com, "$100-million gift to UCLA shows growing role of private donors in public universities," 4 June 2019 The team had begun fiddling with a web redesign back in 2017, and opened it up to beta testing in September 2018. Arielle Pardes, WIRED, "The Inside Story of Twitter's New Redesign," 15 July 2019 Looper fiddled with the time-traveling sci-fi movie, while Brothers Bloom took on the con-man comedy. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Watch: the first trailer for Rian Johnson’s Knives Out tips its hat to Agatha Christie," 2 July 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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Statistics for fiddle

Last Updated

11 Sep 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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