fiddle with

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

  1. To manipulate an object, especially in a nervous or restless manner.
  2. To adjust the position, as of an electronic device, in order to provide better reception or signal.
    • 2000, Paul Scherz, Practical electronics for inventors, page 452:
      Fiddle with vertical VOLT/DIV knob until signal comes into view.
    • 2007, Sheryl J. Anderson, Killer Riff, page 49:
      As technology got better, he'd go back and fiddle with them, convinced he could clean them up enough for release.
  3. (figuratively) To manipulate in order to gain something for oneself.
    • 2004, Jay P. DeCima, Start Small, Profit Big in Real Estate, page 65:
      Don't Fiddle With Sellers Who Have No Equity