verb (used without object), fid·dled, fid·dling.
verb (used with object), fid·dled, fid·dling.
- to falsify: to fiddle the account books.
- to cheat: to fiddle the company out of expense money.
- fid. def.,
- fiddle back,
- fiddle bow,
- fiddle pattern,
- fiddle while rome burns,
Origin of fiddle
Word Origin for fiddle
late 14c., from fiddle (n.); the figurative sense of "to act nervously or idly" is from 1520s. Related: Fiddled; fiddling.
late 14c., fedele, earlier fithele, from Old English fiðele, which is related to Old Norse fiðla, Middle Dutch vedele, Dutch vedel, Old High German fidula, German Fiedel; all of uncertain origin.
Perhaps from Medieval Latin vitula "stringed instrument," which is perhaps related to Latin vitularia "celebrate joyfully," from Vitula, Roman goddess of joy and victory, who probably, like her name, originated among the Sabines [Klein, Barnhart]. Unless the Medieval Latin word is from the Germanic ones.
Fiddle has been relegated to colloquial usage by its more proper cousin, violin, a process encouraged by phraseology such as fiddlesticks, contemptuous nonsense word fiddlededee (1784), and fiddle-faddle. Fit as a fiddle is from 1610s.
fit as a fiddle
In excellent form or health. For example, He's not just recovered, he's fit as a fiddle. The original allusion of this simile has been lost. Its survival is probably due to the pleasant sound of its alliteration. [Early 1600s]
In addition to the idiom beginning with fiddle
- fiddle while Rome burns
- fit as a fiddle
- hang up (one's fiddle)
- play second fiddle