Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Trivial; petty.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act or practice of playing on the fiddle.
  • noun Trifling; useless or unimportant doings; fidgeting with the fingers or hands.
  • Tri fling; trivial; fussily busy with nothing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb Present participle of fiddle.
  • noun action of the verb to fiddle
  • adjective Of petty or trivial importance; footling

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

  • adjective (informal) small and of little importance

Etymologies

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Examples

  • Dr Patrick, who researched the subject for a PhD, said: The academics call this ‘gaming’ but front line police officers would call it fiddling the figures, massaging the books or, the current favourite term, ‘good housekeeping’.

    They Just Don’t Get It. « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG Inspector Gadget 2010

  • A great way of digital fiddling is tuning my blog.

    How to Stop Digital Fiddling and Start Writing | Write to Done 2009

  • The long action gives me a bit more flexibility in fiddling with OAL and my never-ending quest for smaller groups.

    Some Responses to Comments 2008

  • This has all the hallmarks of the corrosively inept statist governing style of the Brown Blair period, their botched administrative fiddling is directly responsible for worsening the chaos and destruction in this area as it has been in so many others.

    Bitter Funny and True Newmania 2007

  • If the helicopter can fly itself, what was Robin fiddling around with the joystick for?

    EXTRALIFE – By Scott Johnson - The Exploding Shark 2007

  • They can spend hours online, e-mailing their boyfriends, while I delight in fiddling with my depthfinder.

    Words of Wisdom 2002

  • They can spend hours online, e-mailing their boyfriends, while I delight in fiddling with my depthfinder.

    Words of Wisdom 2002

  • They can spend hours online, e-mailing their boyfriends, while I delight in fiddling with my depthfinder.

    Words of Wisdom 2002

  • They will pay me, and I'd like to earn some money as the other boys do, and fiddling is the only way I know how to do it –

    Little Men: Life at Plumfield With Jo's Boys 1871

  • Finally, Lasher characterizes me - whom he has never met -- as believing that the most important principle of all is that one may never criticize any rabbi, even if it means denying reality, blaming the victim, and covering up for the guilty - in short, fiddling while Rome burns.

    Israelated - English Israel blogs 2009

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