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diddle1

[did-l]
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verb (used with object), did·dled, did·dling.
  1. Informal. to cheat; swindle; hoax.
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Origin of diddle1

First recorded in 1800–10; perhaps special use of diddle2
Related formsdid·dler, noun

diddle2

[did-l]
verb (used without object), did·dled, did·dling.
  1. Informal. to toy; fool (usually followed by with): The kids have been diddling with the controls on the television set again.
  2. to waste time; dawdle (often followed by around): You would be finished by now if you hadn't spent the morning diddling around.
  3. Informal. to move back and forth with short rapid motions.
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verb (used with object), did·dled, did·dling.
  1. Informal. to move back and forth with short rapid motions; jiggle: Diddle the switch and see if the light comes on.
  2. Slang.
    1. to copulate with.
    2. to practice masturbation upon.
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Origin of diddle2

1800–10; expressive coinage, perhaps orig. in the Siamese twins diddle-diddle, diddle-daddle; cf. dodder1, doodle1
Related formsdid·dler, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for diddler

Historical Examples

  • Were he not a diddler, he would be a maker of patent rat-traps or an angler for trout.

    The Works of Edgar Allan Poe

    Edgar Allan Poe

  • "They keep the finest Port here you ever tasted," says the Diddler.

    The Humors of Falconbridge

    Jonathan F. Kelley

  • A diddler may thus be regarded as a banker in petto—a "financial operation," as a diddle at Brobdignag.

  • Some grumble but all submit, and the diddler goes home a wealthier man by some fifty or sixty dollars well earned.

  • There are but two ways about it—take to the highway, or become a Diddler—a sponge—and, like woodcock, live on "suction."

    The Humors of Falconbridge

    Jonathan F. Kelley


British Dictionary definitions for diddler

diddle1

verb informal
  1. (tr) to cheat or swindle
  2. (intr) an obsolete word for dawdle
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Derived Formsdiddler, noun

Word Origin

C19: back formation from Jeremy Diddler, a scrounger in J. Kenney's farce Raising the Wind (1803)

diddle2

verb
  1. dialect to jerk (an object) up and down or back and forth; shake rapidly
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Word Origin

C17: probably variant of doderen to tremble, totter; see dodder 1
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

Word Origin and History for diddler

diddle

v.

"to cheat, swindle," 1806, from dialectal duddle, diddle "to totter" (1630s). Meaning "waste time" is recorded from 1825. Meaning "to have sex with" is from 1879; that of "to masturbate" (especially of women) is from 1950s. More or less unrelated meanings that have gathered around a suggestive sound. Related: Diddled; diddling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper