Definitions

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

  • n. A violin.
  • n. A member of the violin family.
  • n. Nautical A guardrail used on a table during rough weather to prevent things from slipping off.
  • n. Informal Nonsensical, trifling matters: "There are things that are important/beyond all this fiddle” ( Marianne Moore).
  • n. The act or an instance of cheating or swindling; a fraud.
  • intransitive v. To play a violin.
  • intransitive v. To move one's fingers or hands in a nervous fashion.
  • intransitive v. To occupy oneself in an aimless or desultory way: liked to fiddle with all the knobs and dials.
  • intransitive v. To meddle or tamper: a reporter who fiddled with the facts.
  • intransitive v. To commit a fraud, especially to steal from one's employer.
  • transitive v. To play (a tune) on a violin.
  • transitive v. To cheat or swindle.
  • transitive v. To alter or falsify (accounts, for example) for dishonest gain.
  • fiddle away To waste or squander: fiddled away the morning with unnecessary tasks.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of various bowed string instruments, often used to refer to a violin when played in any of various traditional styles, as opposed to classical violin.
  • n. An adjustment intended to cover up a basic flaw.
  • n. fraud
  • n. On board a ship or boat, a rail or batten around the edge of a table or stove to prevent objects falling off at sea. (Also fiddle rail)
  • v. To play aimlessly.
  • v. To adjust in order to cover a basic flaw or fraud etc.
  • v. To play traditional tunes on a violin in a non-classical style.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A stringed instrument of music played with a bow; a violin; a kit.
  • n. A kind of dock (Rumex pulcher) with fiddle-shaped leaves; -- called also fiddle dock.
  • n. A rack or frame of bars connected by strings, to keep table furniture in place on the cabin table in bad weather.
  • intransitive v. To play on a fiddle.
  • intransitive v. To keep the hands and fingers actively moving as a fiddler does; to move the hands and fingers restlessy or in busy idleness; to trifle.
  • transitive v. To play (a tune) on a fiddle.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A musical stringed instrument of the viol class; a violin. See viol, violin, crowd.
  • n. Nautical, a contrivance to prevent things from rolling off the table in bad weather. It is made of small cords passed through wooden bridges and hauled very taut. Same as rack.
  • n. In wool-carding, an implement used in Yorkshire, England, for smoothing the points of card-clothing and dislodging dirt from among the teeth.
  • n. In an orchestra, to take the part of the first (or second) violinplayer.
  • n. Hence— To take a leading (or subordinate) part in any project or undertaking.
  • To play upon the fiddle or violin or some similar instrument.
  • Hence To scrape, as one stretched string upon another.
  • To play (upon), in a figurative sense.
  • To move the hands or other objects over one another or about in an idle or ineffective way.
  • To be busy with trifles; trifle; do something requiring considerable pains and patience without any adequate result.
  • To play on, in a figurative sense.
  • To play (a tune) on a fiddle.
  • n. In ceramics, a rack in which pieces of ware that have been dipped in liquid glaze are placed to drain.
  • n. A piece of wood by which the guy-ropes of a tennis-net are stretched to keep them taut.

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

  • v. commit fraud and steal from one's employer
  • v. play the violin or fiddle
  • v. manipulate manually or in one's mind or imagination
  • v. play on a violin
  • v. play around with or alter or falsify, usually secretively or dishonestly
  • v. avoid (one's assigned duties)
  • n. bowed stringed instrument that is the highest member of the violin family; this instrument has four strings and a hollow body and an unfretted fingerboard and is played with a bow
  • v. try to fix or mend

Etymologies

Middle English fidle, from Old English fithele.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English fithele, from Old English fiðele. Cognate with Old High German fidula (German Fiedel), Old Norse fiðla (Icelandic fiðla, Danish fiddel, Norwegian fela), Middle Dutch vedele (Dutch veel, vedel). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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