[ fet-l ]
See synonyms for fettle on Thesaurus.com
  1. state; condition: in fine fettle.

verb (used with object),fet·tled, fet·tling.
  1. Ceramics. to remove mold marks from (a cast piece).

  2. Metallurgy.

    • to remove sand from (a casting).

    • to repair the hearth of (an open-hearth furnace).

Origin of fettle

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English verb fetlen, fetelen, fatelen “to shape, prepare,” perhaps from Old English noun fetel “belt, girdle”

Words Nearby fettle

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use fettle in a sentence

  • Dolly had seen the gap opening out of the far side of the field on to another road and she led the way to it in high fettle.

  • And old Matthew, a mill-hand, said the other day he didn't feel in a grand fettle.

    Sarah's School Friend | May Baldwin
  • There is a cupful of porridge also with the coffee, paid for by deduction from our pay, so that one starts in good fettle.

    In the Ranks of the C.I.V. | Erskine Childers
  • Simon fettle was a plain kindly creature without a thought of malice, who kept his master's accounts.

  • He seemed in rare fettle, and the trainer said no horse could possibly have done better.

    The Sweep Winner | Nat Gould

British Dictionary definitions for fettle


/ (ˈfɛtəl) /

  1. to remove (excess moulding material and casting irregularities) from a cast component

  2. to line or repair (the walls of a furnace)

  1. British dialect

    • to prepare or arrange (a thing, oneself, etc), esp to put a finishing touch to

    • to repair or mend (something)

  1. state of health, spirits, etc (esp in the phrase in fine fettle)

  2. another name for fettling

Origin of fettle

C14 (in the sense: to put in order): back formation from fetled girded up, from Old English fetel belt

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