1. Nautical. a billethead having a form similar to the volute carved at the upper end of a violin.
  2. the young, coiled frond of various species of ferns, eaten as a vegetable.

Origin of fiddlehead

First recorded in 1790–1800; fiddle + head Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fiddlehead

Historical Examples of fiddlehead

British Dictionary definitions for fiddlehead



  1. nautical an ornamental carving, in the shape of the scroll at the head end of a fiddle, fitted to the top of the stem or cutwater
  2. US and Canadian the edible coiled tip of a young fern frond
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 fiddlehead

"one with a head as hollow as a fiddle," 1854 (fiddleheaded), from fiddle (n.) + head (n.). As a name for young fern fronds, from 1882, from resemblance to a violin's scroll.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper