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fiddle

Definitions

  • THE CAT AND FIDDLE
    THE CAT AND FIDDLE
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v fiddle 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"
    • v fiddle 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"
    • v fiddle 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"
    • v fiddle play on a violin "Zuckerman fiddled that song very nicely"
    • v fiddle play the violin or fiddle
    • v fiddle commit fraud and steal from one's employer "We found out that she had been fiddling for years"
    • v fiddle avoid (one's assigned duties) "The derelict soldier shirked his duties"
    • n fiddle 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
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

The cat and the fiddle The cat and the fiddle
and the Fiddle, and the Fiddle,
Cat and the fiddle Cat and the fiddle

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Fiddle (Bot) A kind of dock (Rumex pulcher) with fiddle-shaped leaves; -- called also fiddle dock.
    • Fiddle (Naut) A rack or frame of bars connected by strings, to keep table furniture in place on the cabin table in bad weather.
    • Fiddle (Mus) A stringed instrument of music played with a bow; a violin; a kit.
    • Fiddle 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. "Talking, and fiddling with their hats and feathers."
    • v. t Fiddle To play (a tune) on a fiddle.
    • Fiddle To play on a fiddle. "Themistocles . . . said he could not fiddle, but he could make a small town a great city."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n fiddle A musical stringed instrument of the viol class; a violin. See viol, violin, crowd. This is the proper English name, but among musicians it has been superseded by violin, the name fiddle, except in popular language, being used humorously or in slight contempt.
    • n fiddle Nautical, a contrivance to prevent things from rolling off the table in bad weather. It is made of small cords passed through wooden bridges and hauled very taut. Same as rack.
    • n fiddle In wool-carding, an implement used in Yorkshire, England, for smoothing the points of card-clothing and dislodging dirt from among the teeth. It consists of a piece of emery-covered cloth stretched between two end-pieces of wood connected by a curved handle.
    • n fiddle In an orchestra, to take the part of the first (or second) violinplayer.
    • n fiddle Hence— To take a leading (or subordinate) part in any project or undertaking.
    • fiddle To play upon the fiddle or violin or some similar instrument.
    • fiddle Hence To scrape, as one stretched string upon another.
    • fiddle To play (upon), in a figurative sense.
    • fiddle To move the hands or other objects over one another or about in an idle or ineffective way.
    • fiddle To be busy with trifles; trifle; do something requiring considerable pains and patience without any adequate result.
    • fiddle To play on, in a figurative sense.
    • fiddle To play (a tune) on a fiddle.
    • n fiddle In ceramics, a rack in which pieces of ware that have been dipped in liquid glaze are placed to drain.
    • n fiddle A piece of wood by which the guy-ropes of a tennis-net are stretched to keep them taut.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Fiddle fid′l a stringed instrument of music, called also a Violin
    • v.t., v.i Fiddle to play on a fiddle: to be busy over trifles, to trifle:—pr.p. fidd′ling; pa.p. fidd′led
    • n Fiddle trifling talk
    • adj Fiddle fussy, trifling
    • interj Fiddle nonsense!—n. Fidd′le-fadd′ler
    • ***

Quotations

  • Sigmund Z. Engel
    Sigmund Z. Engel
    “The age of a woman doesn't mean a thing. The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles.”
  • English Proverb
    English Proverb
    “Friends are like fiddle strings, they must not be screwed too tight.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “To feel fit as a fiddle you must tone down your middle.”

Idioms

Fiddle while Rome burns - If people are fiddling while Rome burns, they are wasting their time on futile things while problems threaten to destroy them.
***
Fit as a fiddle - If you are fit as a fiddle, you are in perfect health.
***
On the fiddle - (UK) Someone who is stealing money from work is on the fiddle, especially if they are doing it by fraud.
***
Play second fiddle - If you play second fiddle, you take a subordinate role behind someone more important.
***

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. fidele, fithele, AS. fiðele,; akin to D. vedel, OHG. fidula, G. fiedel, Icel. fiðla, and perh. to E. viol,. Cf. Viol

Usage

In literature:

Dear little cripples, I felt as if I could play them all straight again with the love and joy jumping out of this old fiddle.
"The Melting-Pot" by Israel Zangwill
As dancing without a fiddle.
"The Comedies of William Congreve Volume 1 [of 2]" by William Congreve
He next played a tune on the Chinese fiddle, very thin and squeaky.
"A Boy's Voyage Round the World" by The Son of Samuel Smiles
Mate McGaw fiddled a gnarled finger under his nose and tried to find some words of protest.
"Blow The Man Down" by Holman Day
Or was it an old fiddle?
"The Queen's Scarlet" by George Manville Fenn
I don't enjoy fiddling much but I'd prefer it to seeing anyone using a needle who isn't accustomed to it.
"Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1907 to 1908" by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Miss Barks seated herself deliberately, after much fiddling with bracelets and gloves, and tied back the ends of her cap behind her.
"Robert Elsmere" by Mrs. Humphry Ward
PATCH: I don 't suppose, dearie, I 'm the kind o' pirate as sets yer thinkin' of fiddles tunin' up, ner parsons.
"Wappin' Wharf" by Charles S. Brooks
There was only one man in all Haarlem, in all Holland, who did not yield the palm at fiddle-playing to Castero.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 54, No. 334, August 1843" by Various
The trouble was his love for the fiddle and the fishing-line, which stood very much in the way of business.
"Historical Tales, Vol. 2 (of 15)" by Charles Morris
My mother never knew anything about dances and fiddling and such things; she was a Christian.
"Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves, Arkansas Narratives, Part 4" by Work Projects Administration
Thin, after the supper, ye kin come out an' hear Mr. Watlin play on the fiddle.
"Explorers of the Dawn" by Mazo de la Roche
In his hands he clutched a fiddle and fiddlestick.
"The International Monthly, Volume 3, No. 1, April, 1851" by Various
Black and shiny as I ever saw and its neck straight as a fiddle bow.
"Blue Ridge Country" by Jean Thomas
It was not a home-made whistle now, but a fiddle bought out of his wages.
"The Manxman A Novel - 1895" by Hall Caine
I was free to immortalize them; and my fiddling was thenceforth a work of supererogation.
"Mystic London:" by Charles Maurice Davies
Presently in the distance came the sound of a fiddle.
"Girls of the Forest" by L. T. Meade
Fiddling for ocean liners, while the dance Sweeps through the decks, your brown tribes all will go!
"American Poetry, 1922" by Edna St. Vincent Millay
A man played the fiddle to them and some danced.
"Aladdin of London" by Sir Max Pemberton
But his question about the fiddle, her fiddle, placed her again on equal footing with him.
"Rose O'Paradise" by Grace Miller White
***

In poetry:

And so they took their march away
As firm as if to fiddle,
To journey that night and all next day
With Robin Hood in the middle.
"Robin Hood's Flight" by James Henry Leigh Hunt
He hasna left his like ahin',
An' wha are they that tak' his place?
Ane wan'ered half a mile frae hame,
Anither lost his fiddle-case.
"Blythe Willie Stewart" by Alexander Anderson
Should Heaven send me any son,
I hope he's not like Tennyson.
I'd rather have him play a fiddle
Than rise and bow and speak an idyll.
"Alfred, Lord Tennyson" by Dorothy Parker
He fiddled at rockins and kintra kirns,
Where we a' made meikle din;
An' aye at the ball on a Hogmanay,
When we danced the New Year in.
"The Fiddler O' Boglebriggs" by Alexander Anderson
And if, O countrymen, I fall,
Beside our grave let this be spoken:
"No foe of France shall ever dance
Above the heart and fiddle, broken!"
"Beranger's "Broken Fiddle"" by Eugene Field
Auld Willie's gane wi' a' his fun,
The fate o' men an' human things;
His fiddle's hingin' on the wa',
An' wha is left to touch its strings?
"Blythe Willie Stewart" by Alexander Anderson

In news:

AC/DC's Malcolm Young Plays Second Fiddle to Folk Singer Cousin.
Played like a fiddle, I barely made the party.
US styrene industry at risk while Congress, courts fiddle .
Ron Paul's exercise regimen keeps him fit as a fiddle .
Politicians fiddle while the earth burns.
Music plays second fiddle to rare Beatles autographed 45.
Robert Mugabe's birthday: At 88, Zimbabwe president 'fit as a fiddle ' (PHOTOS).
Certainly, it seems that progressives are fiddling while Turkish women literally burn.
In Cross-Tuned Fiddling, Peter Rolland was first and Dennis Russell was second.
In Twin Fiddling, Michael Rolland and Peter Rolland were first.
In Fancy Fiddling, John Brewer was first.
In Trick Fiddling, Bruce Wurst was first.
A Centenarian Fit as a Fiddle .
This " Fiddle Gathering" comes from a long tradition in Sweden of fiddlers getting together to learn new music and play old favorites.
Spelman means fiddle player and Stämma means gathering.
***