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[fet-l] /ˈfɛt l/
state; condition:
in fine fettle.
verb (used with object), fettled, fettling.
Ceramics. to remove mold marks from (a cast piece).
  1. to remove sand from (a casting).
  2. to repair the hearth of (an open-hearth furnace).
Origin of fettle
1300-50; Middle English fetle to shape, prepare, back formation from fetled, Old English *fetelede girded up, equivalent to fetel belt + -ede -ed2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for fettle
  • And of course, advanced veterinary practice kept your pirate parrots in fine fettle.
  • But a clutch of company results this week show the biggest firms to be generally in fine fettle.
  • He has no immediate challenger on the left, and the economy is in fine fettle.
  • Asked about his health, he replied that he was in excellent fettle.
  • It was the second visit of the season and it found the orchestra in fine fettle.
  • Both the stallion and his famous sister are sound and apparently in fine fettle.
British Dictionary definitions for fettle


verb (transitive)
to remove (excess moulding material and casting irregularities) from a cast component
to line or repair (the walls of a furnace)
(Brit, dialect)
  1. to prepare or arrange (a thing, oneself, etc), esp to put a finishing touch to
  2. to repair or mend (something)
state of health, spirits, etc (esp in the phrase in fine fettle)
another name for fettling
Word Origin
C14 (in the sense: to put in order): back formation from fetled girded up, from Old English fetel belt
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fettle

"condition, state, trim," c.1750, Lancashire dialect, from fettle (v.) "to make ready, arrange" (14c.), perhaps from Old English fetel "a girdle, belt," from Proto-Germanic *fatiloz (cf. German fessel "fetter, chain," Old Norse fetill "strap, brace"), from *fat- "to hold."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fettle in Medicine

fettle fet·tle (fět'l)

  1. Proper or sound condition.

  2. Mental or emotional state; spirits.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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