follow Dictionary.com

Your favorite word could be our Word of the Day!

fiddling

[fid-ling] /ˈfɪd lɪŋ/
adjective
1.
trifling; trivial:
a fiddling sum of money.
Origin
late Middle English
1425-1475
1425-75; late Middle English; see fiddle, -ing2

fiddle

[fid-l] /ˈfɪd l/
noun
1.
a musical instrument of the viol family.
2.
violin:
Her aunt plays first fiddle with the state symphony orchestra.
3.
Nautical. a small ledge or barrier raised in heavy weather to keep dishes, pots, utensils, etc., from sliding off tables and stoves.
4.
British Informal. swindle; fraud.
verb (used without object), fiddled, fiddling.
5.
to play on the fiddle.
6.
to make trifling or fussing movements with the hands (often followed by with):
fiddling with his cuffs.
7.
to touch or manipulate something, as to operate or adjust it; tinker (often followed by with):
You may have to fiddle with the antenna to get a clear picture on the TV.
8.
to waste time; trifle; dally (often followed by around):
Stop fiddling around and get to work.
9.
British Informal. to cheat.
verb (used with object), fiddled, fiddling.
10.
to play (a tune) on a fiddle.
11.
to trifle or waste (usually used with away):
to fiddle time away.
12.
Bookbinding. to bind together (sections or leaves of a book) by threading a cord through holes cut lengthwise into the back.
13.
British Informal.
  1. to falsify:
    to fiddle the account books.
  2. to cheat:
    to fiddle the company out of expense money.
Idioms
14.
fine as a fiddle, South Midland and Southern U.S. fiddle (def 15).
15.
fit as a fiddle, in perfect health; very fit:
The doctor told him he was fit as a fiddle.
Also, as fit as a fiddle.
16.
play second fiddle. second fiddle.
Origin
before 1000; Middle English; Old English fithele (cognate with German Fiedel, Dutch vedel, Old High German fidula) probably < Vulgar Latin *vītula (cf. viol, viola1), perhaps derivative of Latin vītulārī to rejoice
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for fiddling
  • Sometimes voters handed their votes to election clerks for deposit, inviting further fiddling with the results.
  • There's no more fiddling with the mouse on these computers.
  • fiddling around with the phone and headset to get the pairing to work can cause accidents.
  • Increasing the planet's resilience will probably involve a few dramatic changes and a lot of fiddling.
  • Instead they look at fiddling with university admissions.
  • Used wisely, such fiddling enhances the cinematic experience.
  • Optimists, however, argue there may be benefits from today's fad for currency fiddling.
  • The suggestion of fiddling public finances flummoxed and infuriated him.
  • People texting while driving, or fiddling with an iPod, also worry safety officials.
  • And since communication is the basis of culture, fiddling at this level is indeed momentous.
British Dictionary definitions for fiddling

fiddling

/ˈfɪdlɪŋ/
adjective
1.
trifling or insignificant; petty
2.
another word for fiddly

fiddle

/ˈfɪdəl/
noun
1.
(informal) any instrument of the viol or violin family, esp the violin
2.
a violin played as a folk instrument
3.
time-wasting or trifling behaviour; nonsense; triviality
4.
(nautical) a small railing around the top of a table to prevent objects from falling off it in bad weather
5.
(Brit, informal) an illegal or fraudulent transaction or arrangement
6.
(Brit, informal) a manually delicate or tricky operation
7.
(informal) at the fiddle, on the fiddle, engaged in an illegal or fraudulent undertaking
8.
(informal) face as long as a fiddle, a dismal or gloomy facial expression
9.
(informal) fit as a fiddle, in very good health
10.
(informal) play second fiddle, to be subordinate; play a minor part
verb
11.
to play (a tune) on the fiddle
12.
(intransitive) often foll by with. to make restless or aimless movements with the hands
13.
(informal) when intr, often foll by about or around. to spend (time) or act in a careless or inconsequential manner; waste (time)
14.
(often foll by with) (informal) to tamper or interfere (with)
15.
(informal) to contrive to do (something) by illicit means or deception: he fiddled his way into a position of trust
16.
(transitive) (informal) to falsify (accounts, etc); swindle
Word Origin
Old English fithele, probably from Medieval Latin vītula, from Latin vītulārī to celebrate; compare Old High German fidula fiddle; see viola1
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for fiddling

fiddle

n.

late 14c., fedele, earlier fithele, from Old English fiðele, which is related to Old Norse fiðla, Middle Dutch vedele, Dutch vedel, Old High German fidula, German Fiedel; all of uncertain origin.

Perhaps from Medieval Latin vitula "stringed instrument," which is perhaps related to Latin vitularia "celebrate joyfully," from Vitula, Roman goddess of joy and victory, who probably, like her name, originated among the Sabines [Klein, Barnhart]. Unless the Medieval Latin word is from the Germanic ones.

Fiddle has been relegated to colloquial usage by its more proper cousin, violin, a process encouraged by phraseology such as fiddlesticks, contemptuous nonsense word fiddlededee (1784), and fiddle-faddle. Fit as a fiddle is from 1610s.

v.

late 14c., from fiddle (n.); the figurative sense of "to act nervously or idly" is from 1520s. Related: Fiddled; fiddling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
fiddling in Culture

fiddle definition


Another name for the violin; fiddle is the more common term for the instrument as played in folk music and bluegrass.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for fiddling

fiddle

noun

: His new boat is a tax fiddle (1874+)

verb
  1. (also fiddle around or vfiddle fart around or fiddlefartx) To waste time; goof around, fart around: and the school board fiddled (entry form 1663+)
  2. To cheat; defraud (1604+)
Related Terms

bull fiddle, git-box, play second fiddle, second fiddle


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with fiddling

fiddle

In addition to the idiom beginning with
fiddle
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for fiddling

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for fiddling

14
17
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with fiddling

Nearby words for fiddling