from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Proper or sound condition.
  • n. Mental or emotional state; spirits: was in fine fettle.
  • n. Metallurgy Loose sand or ore used to line the hearth of a reverberatory furnace in preparation for pouring molten metal.
  • transitive v. Metallurgy To line the hearth of (a reverberatory furnace) with loose sand or ore in preparation for pouring molten metal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A state of proper physical condition; kilter or trim.
  • n. One's mental state; spirits.
  • n. Sand used to line a furnace.
  • n. A person's mood or state, often assuming the worst.
  • n. a seam line left by the meeting of mold pieces.
  • n. The act of fettling.
  • v. To sort out, to fix, to mend, to repair.
  • v. To line the hearth of a furnace with sand prior to pouring molten metal.
  • v. To be upset or in bad mood.
  • v. In ceramics, to remove (as by sanding) the seam lines left by the meeting of two molds.
  • v. To repair or tune a bicycle.
  • v. (archaic) To prepare.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of fettling.
  • intransitive v. To make preparations; to put things in order; to do trifling business.
  • transitive v. To repair; to prepare; to put in order.
  • transitive v. To cover or line with a mixture of ore, cinders, etc., as the hearth of a puddling furnace.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To bind; tie up.
  • To arrange; prepare; put in order; repair; mend.
  • To beat; thrash.
  • Toline(the hearth of a puddling-furnace). See fettling.
  • Fettled ale or porter, ale or porter sweetened with sugar and seasoned with a little ginger and nutmeg.
  • To potter; set about in a fussy, pottering way; do trifling business.
  • Neat; tight; handy.
  • n. The state of being prepared, or in good repair or condition: as, he is in splendid fettle to-day.
  • n. A handle in the side of a large basket.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a state of fitness and good health
  • v. remove mold marks or sand from (a casting)


From Middle English fetlen, to make ready, possibly from Old English fetel, girdle.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English fetel. (Wiktionary)



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  • a different type of sand blasting (or should I say sand basking)

    September 7, 2009

  • Sired by surgical       Sundries Inc.,
    my appearance - patent       pending - is awesome.
    I am not fettled from       fleeces of thick wool,
    no knitter's needles       knocked me up.

    - Peter Reading, ?, from Tom O' Bedlam's Beauties, 1981

    June 28, 2008

  • I hear it used relatively often (in the States, east coast), SoG, but only in the phrase thigpen mentions: in fine fettle.

    I often wonder what a poor fettle might look like.

    December 17, 2007

  • I thought this was particularly Scottish. Am I wrong?

    December 17, 2007

  • in fine fettle

    January 7, 2007