Origin of fettling

First recorded in 1860–65; fettle + -ing1


  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.
    1. to remove sand from (a casting).
    2. to repair the hearth of (an open-hearth furnace).

Origin of fettle

1300–50; Middle English fetle to shape, prepare, back formation from fetled, Old English *fetelede girded up, equivalent to fetel belt + -ede -ed2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fettling

Historical Examples of fettling

British Dictionary definitions for fettling


  1. a refractory material used to line the hearth of puddling furnacesAlso called: fettle


verb (tr)
  1. to remove (excess moulding material and casting irregularities) from a cast component
  2. to line or repair (the walls of a furnace)
  3. British dialect
    1. to prepare or arrange (a thing, oneself, etc), esp to put a finishing touch to
    2. to repair or mend (something)
  1. state of health, spirits, etc (esp in the phrase in fine fettle)
  2. another name for fettling

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for fettling



"condition, state, trim," c.1750, Lancashire dialect, from fettle (v.) "to make ready, arrange" (14c.), perhaps from Old English fetel "a girdle, belt," from Proto-Germanic *fatiloz (cf. German fessel "fetter, chain," Old Norse fetill "strap, brace"), from *fat- "to hold."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

fettling in Medicine


  1. Proper or sound condition.
  2. Mental or emotional state; spirits.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.