What does fiddle mean?

Definitions for fiddle
ˈfɪd lfid·dle

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word fiddle.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. violin, fiddleverb

    bowed stringed instrument that is the highest member of the violin family; this instrument has four strings and a hollow body and an unfretted fingerboard and is played with a bow

  2. fiddle, shirk, shrink from, goldbrickverb

    avoid (one's assigned duties)

    "The derelict soldier shirked his duties"

  3. fiddleverb

    commit fraud and steal from one's employer

    "We found out that she had been fiddling for years"

  4. fiddleverb

    play the violin or fiddle

  5. fiddleverb

    play on a violin

    "Zuckerman fiddled that song very nicely"

  6. toy, fiddle, diddle, playverb

    manipulate manually or in one's mind or imagination

    "She played nervously with her wedding ring"; "Don't fiddle with the screws"; "He played with the idea of running for the Senate"

  7. tamper, fiddle, monkeyverb

    play around with or alter or falsify, usually secretively or dishonestly

    "Someone tampered with the documents on my desk"; "The reporter fiddle with the facts"

  8. tinker, fiddleverb

    try to fix or mend

    "Can you tinker with the T.V. set--it's not working right"; "She always fiddles with her van on the weekend"


  1. fiddlenoun

    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. fiddlenoun

    An adjustment intended to cover up a basic flaw.

    That parameter setting is just a fiddle to make the lighting look right.

  3. fiddlenoun


  4. fiddlenoun

    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)

  5. fiddleverb

    To play aimlessly.

    You're fiddling your life away.

  6. fiddleverb

    To adjust in order to cover a basic flaw or fraud etc.

  7. fiddleverb

    To play traditional tunes on a violin in a non-classical style.

  8. Etymology: From fithele, from fiðele.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. FIDDLEnoun

    Etymology: fidele, Saxon; vedel, Dutch; fidel, German; fidicula, Latin; fiúll, Erse.

    In trials of musical skill the judges did not crown the fiddle, but the performer. Edward Stillingfleet.

    The adventure of the bear and fiddle
    Is sung; but breaks off in the middle. Hudibras.

    She tried the fiddle all over, by drawing the bow over every part of the strings; but could not, for her heart, find whereabout the tune lay. Joseph Addison, Guardian, №. 98.

  2. To Fiddleverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    Themistocles being desired at a feast to touch a lute, he said he could not fiddle, but he could make a small town a great city. Francis Bacon, Essays.

    Others import yet nobler arts from France,
    Teach kings to fiddle, and make senates dance. Alexander Pope.

    A cunning fellow observed, that old Lewis had stole away part of the map, and saw him fiddling and turning the map, trying to join the two pieces together. John Arbuthnot, H. of J. Bull.

    Good cooks cannot abide what they justly call fiddling work, where abundance of time is spent, and little done. Jonathan Swift.


  1. Fiddle

    A fiddle is a bowed string musical instrument, most often a violin. It is a colloquial term for the violin, used by players in all genres, including classical music. Although in many cases violins and fiddles are essentially synonymous, the style of the music played may determine specific construction differences between fiddles and classical violins. For example, fiddles may optionally be set up with a bridge with a flatter arch to reduce the range of bow-arm motion needed for techniques such as the double shuffle, a form of bariolage involving rapid alternation between pairs of adjacent strings. To produce a "brighter" tone than the deep tones of gut or synthetic core strings, fiddlers often use steel strings. The fiddle is part of many traditional (folk) styles, which are typically aural traditions—taught "by ear" rather than via written music.Fiddling is the act of playing the fiddle, and fiddlers are musicians that play it. Among musical styles, fiddling tends to produce rhythms that focus on dancing, with associated quick note changes, whereas classical music tends to contain more vibrato and sustained notes. Fiddling is also open to improvisation and embellishment with ornamentation at the player's discretion, in contrast to orchestral performances, which adhere to the composer's notes to reproduce a work faithfully. It is less common for a classically trained violinist to play folk music, but today, many fiddlers (e.g., Alasdair Fraser, Brittany Haas, and Alison Krauss) have classical training.


  1. fiddle

    A fiddle is a stringed musical instrument, often similar to a violin. It is typically played by drawing a bow across its strings. The term "fiddle" is often used when referring to various folk music traditions, or in a colloquial sense for any bowed string instrument. It can also refer to the act of tampering or tinkering with something in a casual or meddlesome way.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Fiddlenoun

    a stringed instrument of music played with a bow; a violin; a kit

  2. Fiddlenoun

    a kind of dock (Rumex pulcher) with fiddle-shaped leaves; -- called also fiddle dock

  3. Fiddlenoun

    a rack or frame of bars connected by strings, to keep table furniture in place on the cabin table in bad weather

  4. Fiddleverb

    to play on a fiddle

  5. Fiddleverb

    to keep the hands and fingers actively moving as a fiddler does; to move the hands and fingers restlessy or in busy idleness; to trifle

  6. Fiddleverb

    to play (a tune) on a fiddle

  7. Etymology: [OE. fidele, fithele, AS. fiele; akin to D. vedel, OHG. fidula, G. fiedel, Icel. fila, and perh. to E. viol. Cf. Viol.]


  1. fiddle

    A fiddle is any bowed string musical instrument, most often the violin. It is also a colloquial term for the instrument used by players in all genres, including classical music. Fiddle playing, or fiddling, refers to various styles of music. Common distinctions between violins and fiddles reflect the differences in the instruments used to play folk and classical music. However, it is not uncommon for classically trained violinists to play folk music, and today many fiddle players have classical training. Many traditional styles are aural traditions, so are taught 'by ear' rather than with written music.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Fiddle

    fid′l, n. a stringed instrument of music, called also a Violin.—v.t. or v.i. to play on a fiddle: to be busy over trifles, to trifle:—pr.p. fidd′ling; pa.p. fidd′led.ns. Fidd′le-block, a long block having two sheaves of different diameters in the same plane; Fidd′le-bow, a bow strung with horse-hair, with which the strings of the fiddle are set vibrating.—interjs. Fidd′le-de-dee, Fidd′lestick (often pl.), nonsense!—v.i. Fidd′le-fadd′le, to trifle, to dally.—n. trifling talk.—adj. fussy, trifling.—interj. nonsense!—n. Fidd′le-fadd′ler.—adj. Fidd′le-fadd′ling.—ns. Fidd′le-head, an ornament at a ship's bow, over the cut-water, consisting of a scroll turning aft or inward; Fidd′ler, one who fiddles: a small crab of genus Gelasimus; Fidd′le-string, a string for a fiddle; Fidd′le-wood, a tropical American tree yielding valuable hard wood.—adj. Fidd′ling, trifling, busy about trifles.—Fiddler's green, a sailor's name for a place of frolic on shore.—Play first, or second, fiddle, to take the part of the first, or second, violin-player in an orchestra: to take a leading, or a subordinate, part in anything; Scotch fiddle, the itch. [A.S. fiðele; Ger. fiedel. See Violin.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. fiddle

    A contrivance to prevent things from rolling off the table in bad weather. It takes its name from its resemblance to a fiddle, being made of small cords passed through wooden bridges, and hauled very taut.

How to pronounce fiddle?

How to say fiddle in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of fiddle in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of fiddle in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of fiddle in a Sentence

  1. Benjamin Netanyahu:

    Sadly, the fiddler on the roof is no longer with us. The strings of the fiddle have fallen silent. The story of Haim Topol’s life has been sealed but I am certain that his contribution to Israeli culture will live on for generations, he greatly loved the land of Israel, and the people of Israel loved him in return.

  2. Md Khalequzzaman:

    The Sundarbans is too important an ecosystem to fiddle or experiment with.

  3. Ballyboy Comhaltas:

    We are truly devastated by the tragic passing of our amazing friend and musician Ashling Murphy. Words cannot describe how heartbroken we are to lose such a special young lady, far too early in her life, we are privileged to have had Ashling as a fiddle and tin whistle tutor within our branch. She had a warm and caring approach with her pupils and she inspired them to be the best they could be.

  4. Elizabeth Ochoa:

    If you stop prioritizing your marriage and allow it to play second fiddle to work, your partner will probably start to feel isolated and angry.

  5. Jeb Bush:

    Look, I just think he's uninformed. He knows what he's saying. He's smart. He's playing you guys like a fiddle, the press, by saying outrageous things and garnering attention. That's his strategy, is to dominate the news.

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Translations for fiddle

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • كمانArabic
  • измама, цигулкаBulgarian
  • šumařit, marnitCzech
  • ffidilWelsh
  • violinDanish
  • Fidel, Violine, Geige, Fiedel, Schiffsgeländer, fummeln, krummes DingGerman
  • timo, chanchullo, arreglo, ajuste, petardo, tejemaneje, engaño, violín, engañifa, amañar, estafaSpanish
  • viulu, soittaa, vilunki, viilata, temppu, haaskata, viritys, reunalista, näpelöidä, vinguttaa, koheltaaFinnish
  • tour de passe-passe, truc, réglage, tripoter, ajustement, adaptation, crincrin, traficoter, bidouiller, violon, expédient, tripotage, cote mal tailléeFrench
  • fidilIrish
  • fìdheallScottish Gaelic
  • biolManx
  • כינורHebrew
  • hegedű, hegedülHungarian
  • ջութակArmenian
  • violinoIdo
  • fiðlaIcelandic
  • stratagemma, truffa, viola, parapetto, marchingegno, trucco, frode, violinoItalian
  • フィドル, いじり回すJapanese
  • fyllCornish
  • ຊໍLao
  • vijoleLatvian
  • raukoti, rāwekewekeMāori
  • гуслаMacedonian
  • vedel, fiedelen, vioolDutch
  • feleNorwegian
  • oszustwo, skrzypcePolish
  • falcatrua, fraude, ajeitar, vadiar, logro, violino, rabeca, ajustePortuguese
  • скрипка, надувательство, возиться, теребить, химичить, [[тратить]] [[время]] [[попусту]], мошенничество, мять, трюкRussian
  • fiolSwedish
  • ซอThai
  • 小提琴Chinese

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"fiddle." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 22 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/fiddle>.

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