Meaning of “fiddle” in the English Dictionary

"fiddle" in British English

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uk /ˈfɪd.əl/ us /ˈfɪd.əl/

fiddle verb (CHEAT)

[ T ] UK informal to act dishonestly in order to get something for yourself, or to change something dishonestly, especially to your advantage:

She managed to fiddle a free trip to America.
He had been fiddling the accounts/books/finances for years.

fiddle verb (MOVE ABOUT)

[ I ] to move things about or touch things with no particular purpose:

Put your papers down and stop fiddling with them!


uk /ˈfɪd.əl/ us /ˈfɪd.əl/

(Definition of “fiddle” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"fiddle" in American English

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fiddleverb [ I always + adv/prep ]

us /ˈfɪd·əl/

fiddle verb [ I always + adv/prep ] (MOVE THINGS)

to move things around or touch things without a particular purpose:

He stood there fiddling with his keys.

Phrasal verb(s)

fiddlenoun [ C ]

us /ˈfɪd·əl/

fiddle noun [ C ] (INSTRUMENT)

a violin

(Definition of “fiddle” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"fiddle" in Business English

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uk /ˈfɪdl/ us informal

[ T ] to change figures dishonestly, often in order to get more money:

fiddle your overtime/expenses The report criticised officers who fiddled their overtime and tax inspectors who received tax-free bonuses.

[ I ] to change something very slightly:

fiddle with sth If you fiddle with the figures in the investment column, you should be able to get your budget to balance.
fiddle the books

to dishonestly change a company's accounts or financial records:

fiddled the books

fiddlenoun [ C ]

uk /ˈfɪdl/ us informal

something dishonest that is done in order to get money:

tax/expenses/insurance fiddle A year later, he changed the rule, on the grounds that it was being used as a tax fiddle.
on the fiddle

involved in dishonest behaviour, usually to get money:

One in two holidaymakers claiming for lost luggage could be on the fiddle, claims a leading travel insurance firm.
play second fiddle to sb/sth

to be seen as less important than another person or thing:

There were times when security seemed to play second fiddle to how the security company wanted to present itself to the world.

(Definition of “fiddle” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)