fiddle

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English fithele, from Old English fiðele. Cognate with Old High German fidula (German Fiedel), Old Norse fiðla (Icelandic fiðla, Danish fiddel, Norwegian fela), Middle Dutch vedele (Dutch veel, vedel).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

fiddle (plural fiddles)

  1. (music) Any of various bowed string instruments, often used to refer to a violin when played in any of various traditional styles, as opposed to classical violin.
    When I play it like this, it's a fiddle; when I play it like that, it's a violin.
  2. A kind of dock (Rumex pulcher) with leaves shaped like the musical instrument.
  3. An adjustment intended to cover up a basic flaw.
    That parameter setting is just a fiddle to make the lighting look right.
  4. A fraud; a scam.
  5. (nautical) On board a ship or boat, a rail or batten around the edge of a table or stove to prevent objects falling off at sea. (Also fiddle rail)

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Verb[edit]

fiddle (third-person singular simple present fiddles, present participle fiddling, simple past and past participle fiddled)

  1. To play aimlessly.
    • Samuel Pepys
      Talking, and fiddling with their hats and feathers.
    You're fiddling your life away.
  2. To adjust in order to cover a basic flaw or fraud etc.
    I needed to fiddle the lighting parameters to get the image to look right.
    Fred was sacked when the auditors caught him fiddling the books.
  3. (music) To play traditional tunes on a violin in a non-classical style.
    • Francis Bacon
      Themistocles [] said he could not fiddle, but he could make a small town a great city.

Synonyms[edit]

  • (to adjust in order to cover a basic flaw): fudge

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