Monday, September 26, 2011

Word of the Week - Fiddle (dedee, faddle, and sticks)

Everyone knows what a fiddle is, right? Or what it means to fiddle. It's a violin. More, it's a colloquial use (that usually denotes the rural or country or south) at this point. Why? The word has been used since the late 14th century, it's perfectly legitimate. Why the connotation? (Let's keep in mind that I LOVE what has become termed "fiddling." I like the more formal violin too, but the fiddle is so much fun!)

Interestingly, it's been relegated to such use largely because of the other words containing "fiddle" that mean "nonsense." Funny, huh? We've got fiddle-faddle used since 1610 for "nonsense." Fiddlesticks has meant the same since 1620. Fiddlededee combines the nonsensical with contempt, and has since 1784. From what I can tell, there's no particular reason why "fiddle" got used in all these words, but it's certainly had an effect on the root word. Fiddle now has associations with nonsense.

Maybe that's why I like it so well. ;-)

Forgive me if this post isn't quite coherent--we spent 12 hours in the car yesterday coming home from St. Louis. The conference was great, fun, etc. Appointments went well, classes were great, but the absolute best part was getting to talk to all my friends face to face!

I'm guessing it may take a few days to recover though, LOL.


  1. I never ever EVER would have guessed fiddle has been around as long as it has! Fascinating stuff. Have I mentioned Word of the Week is probably my favorite blog "series" - here and possibly anywhere?

  2. Well shucks, Joanne! Knowing how many blogs you read, that's high praise indeed!! =)