tar·​a·​did·​dle | \ ˌter-ə-ˈdi-dᵊl How to pronounce taradiddle (audio) , ˌta-rə-ˈdi-dᵊl, ˈter-ə-ˌdi-dᵊl, ˈta-rə-ˌdi-dᵊl\
variants: or tarradiddle

Definition of taradiddle

1 : fib
2 : pretentious nonsense

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Did You Know?

The true origin of taradiddle is unknown, but that doesn't mean you won't encounter a lot of balderdash about its history. Some folks try to connect it to the verb diddle (meaning "to cheat"), but that hasn’t been proven and may turn out to be poppycock. You may hear some tommyrot about it coming from the Old English verb didrian, which meant "to deceive," but that couldn’t be true unless didrian was somehow suddenly revived after eight or nine centuries of disuse. No one even knows when taradiddle was first used. It must have been long before it showed up in a 1796 dictionary of colloquial speech (where it was defined as a synonym of fib), but if we claimed we knew who said it first, we’d be dishing out pure applesauce.

Examples of taradiddle in a Sentence

his tales of adventure are peppered with tongue-in-cheek taradiddles and obvious fabrications regards literary deconstruction as so much tenure-track taradiddle

Recent Examples on the Web

Some are esoteric but still used—like taradiddle, which the list notes was recently used by J.K. Rowling but saw more play in the work of Gilbert and Sullivan, Honoré de Balzac and G.K. Chesterton. Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, "As “Dord” Shows, Being in the Dictionary Doesn’t Always Mean Something’s a Word," 28 Feb. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'taradiddle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of taradiddle

circa 1796, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for taradiddle

origin unknown

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Time Traveler for taradiddle

The first known use of taradiddle was circa 1796

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with taradiddle

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Comments on taradiddle

What made you want to look up taradiddle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

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