Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English fetlen (to ready, fix, arrange, prepare), of obscure origin. Perhaps from Old English fetian (to fetch) or from Old English fetel (belt, girdle). Compare Old English ġefetelsod (provided with a belt; trimmed, polished, ornamented).



fettle (plural fettles)

  1. A state of proper physical condition; kilter or trim.
  2. One's mental state; spirits.
  3. Sand used to line a furnace.
  4. (Tyneside, Cumbria) A person's mood or state, often assuming the worst.
    What's yer fettle marra?
  5. (ceramics) a seam line left by the meeting of mold pieces.
  6. (Britain, dialect) The act of fettling.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Wright to this entry?)

Usage notes[edit]

Outside of dialects, this term is a fossil, found only in the phrase in fine fettle.

Derived terms[edit]



fettle (third-person singular simple present fettles, present participle fettling, simple past and past participle fettled)

  1. (Northern England) To sort out, to fix, to mend, to repair.
  2. (intransitive) To make preparations; to put things in order; to do trifling business.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Bishop Hall to this entry?)
  3. (transitive) To line the hearth of a furnace with sand prior to pouring molten metal.
  4. (reflexive, Tyneside) To be upset or in a bad mood.
    Divint fettle yersel ower that!
  5. In ceramics, to remove (as by sanding) the seam lines left by the meeting of two molds.
  6. (transitive, archaic) To prepare.
    • 1595, William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet:
      But fettle your fine joints 'gainst Thursday next...

Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]


  • fettle in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • Newcastle 1970s, Scott Dobson and Dick Irwin, [2]
  • The New Geordie Dictionary, Frank Graham, 1987, →ISBN
  • Northumberland Words, English Dialect Society, R. Oliver Heslop, 1893–4
  • A List of words and phrases in everyday use by the natives of Hetton-le-Hole in the County of Durham, F.M.T.Palgrave, English Dialect Society vol.74, 1896, [3]
  • Todd's Geordie Words and Phrases, George Todd, Newcastle, 1977[4]