WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
fid•dle /ˈfɪdəl/USA pronunciation
n., v., -dled, -dling. WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2015
Music and Dancea violin.violin
Music and Danceto play (a tune) on the fiddle: [no object]The emperor was said to have been fiddling while Rome burned.[~ + object]They fiddled a tune.
[~ + with + object] to make fussing movements with the hands:She fiddled nervously with her handkerchief.
[~ + with + object] to touch or manipulate something, as to operate or adjust it; tinker:I fiddled with the wires to the battery.
fid•dler, n. [countable]
- Idioms(as) fit as a fiddle, in perfect health;
very fit:fit as a fiddle after his vacation.
- play second fiddle to, [~ + object] to have or take a less important role than:I was tired of playing second fiddle to him.
(fid′l), n., v., -dled, -dling.
Music and Dancea musical instrument of the viol family.
Music and Danceviolin:Her aunt plays first fiddle with the state symphony orchestra.
[Naut.]a small ledge or barrier raised in heavy weather to keep dishes, pots, utensils, etc., from sliding off tables and stoves.
British Terms, Informal Terms[Brit. Informal.]swindle; fraud.
Dialect Terms, Idiomsfine as a fiddle, [South Midland and Southern U.S.]See fiddle (def. 6).
Idiomsfit as a fiddle, in perfect health;
very fit:The doctor told him he was fit as a fiddle.Also,as fit as a fiddle.
Idiomsplay second fiddle. See second fiddle.
Music and Danceto play on the fiddle.
to make trifling or fussing movements with the hands (often fol. by with):fiddling with his cuffs.
to touch or manipulate something, as to operate or adjust it; tinker (often fol. by with):You may have to fiddle with the antenna to get a clear picture on the TV.
to waste time;
dally (often fol. by around):Stop fiddling around and get to work.
British Terms, Informal Terms[Brit. Informal.]to cheat.
Music and Danceto play (a tune) on a fiddle.
to trifle or waste (usually used with away):to fiddle time away.
Printing[Bookbinding.]to bind together (sections or leaves of a book) by threading a cord through holes cut lengthwise into the back.
- to falsify:to fiddle the account books.
- to cheat:to fiddle the company out of expense money.
Old English fithele (cognate with German Fiedel, Dutch vedel, Old High German fidula) probably Vulgar Latin *vītula (compare viol, viola1), perh. derivative of Latin vītulārī to rejoice
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
fiddle /ˈfɪdəl/ n
- informal any instrument of the viol or violin family, esp the violin
- a violin played as a folk instrument
- a small railing around the top of a table to prevent objects from falling off it in bad weather
- Brit informal an illegal or fraudulent transaction or arrangement
- Brit informal a manually delicate or tricky operation
- at the fiddle, on the fiddle ⇒ informal engaged in an illegal or fraudulent undertaking
- fit as a fiddle ⇒ informal in very good health
- play second fiddle ⇒ informal to be subordinate; play a minor part
Etymology: Old English fithele, probably from Medieval Latin vītula, from Latin vītulārī to celebrate; compare Old High German fidula fiddle; see viola1
- to play (a tune) on the fiddle
- (intransitive) often followed by with: to make restless or aimless movements with the hands
- when intr, often followed by about or around: informal to spend (time) or act in a careless or inconsequential manner; waste (time)
- (often followed by with) informal to tamper or interfere (with)
- informal to contrive to do (something) by illicit means or deception
- (transitive) informal to falsify (accounts, etc); swindle
'fiddle' also found in these entries: