• synonyms


  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.
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Origin of fiddlehead

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

Examples from the Web for fiddlehead

Historical Examples of fiddlehead

  • Those sleds are made of a single plank turned up at one end like a fiddlehead, and the baggage is lashed on in bags and sacks.

    The Expeditions of Zebulon Montgomery Pike, Volume I (of 3)

    Elliott Coues

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
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper