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fiddle about (with something)
To play with or idly handle (something); to tinker (with something), especially ineptly or improperly. John, would you quit fiddling about with the engine and bring the car to a shop already? Mary, stop fiddling about with hem of your dress and sit still!
fiddle (someone) out of (something)
To steal something from someone through a cheat, swindle, or con. Primarily heard in UK. That dirty lawyer managed to fiddle my family out of thousands of dollars of inheritance money.
on the fiddle
Engaged in deceitful, fraudulent, or dishonest means of obtaining money. My career will be over if anyone ever finds out I was on the fiddle during my time as the company treasurer. There are always politicians on the fiddle, looking for ways to use their positions of power to earn a bit more money.
play first fiddle
To have a leading, commanding, or controlling role, position, or part (in something). (A less common extension of the phrase "play second fiddle," meaning to serve in a subordinate role or position.) Ever since the power shift in Congress, Senator Smith has been playing first fiddle in the agenda for tax reforms. Though she's had many small parts in a variety of films, this is the first movie that sees Ms. Warren playing first fiddle.
get played like a fiddle
To be skillfully manipulated by someone to suit his or her own needs, ends, or benefits. I got played like a fiddle by that travelling salesman. Now what am I going to do with all this junk that he convinced me to buy? Can't you see that his flattery is totally insincere? You're getting played like a fiddle!
be played like a fiddle
To be skillfully manipulated by someone to suit his or her own needs, ends, or benefits. I was played like a fiddle by that travelling salesman. Now what am I going to do with all this junk that he convinced me to buy? Can't you see that his flattery is totally insincere? You're being played like a fiddle!
play (someone) like a fiddle
To easily and deftly manipulate someone to suit one's own needs, ends, or benefits. That travelling salesman played me like a fiddle. Now what am I going to do with all this junk that he convinced me to buy? Can't you see that his flattery is totally insincere? He's playing you like a fiddle!
couldn't hit a bull in the ass with a bass fiddle
Rur. unable to aim; very clumsy. (Jocular. Use with caution.) Tom: Is Jane a good shot? Charlie: She couldn't hit a bull in the ass with a bass fiddle.
(with someone) and fiddle about (with someone) to tease, annoy, or play with someone; to waste someone's time. All right, stop fiddling around with me and tell me how much you will give me for my car. Now it's time for all of you to quit fiddling around and get to work. Tom, you have to stop spending your time fiddling about with your friends. It's time to get serious with your studies.
fiddle around (with something)and fiddle about (with something)
to play with something; to tinker with something ineptly. My brother is outside fiddling around with his car engine. He should stop fiddling around and go out and get a job.
fiddle something away
to waste something. She fiddled the afternoon away. Don't fiddle away the afternoon. Get to work.
fiddle while Rome burns
Fig. to do nothing or something trivial while knowing that something disastrous is happening. (From a legend that the Roman emperor Nero played the lyre while Rome was burning.) The lobbyists don't seem to be doing anything to stop this tax bill. They're fiddling while Rome burns.
fiddle with someone or something
to tinker or play with someone or something. Please don't fiddle with the stereo controls. Leave your brother alone. Don't fiddle with him. He's cranky.
*fit as a fiddle
Cliché in very good health. (*Also: as ~.) You may feel sick now, but after a few days of rest and plenty of liquids, you'll be fit as a fiddle. Grandson: Are you sure you'll be able to climb all these stairs? Grandmother: Of course! I feel as fit as a fiddle today.
hang something up
to return the telephone receiver to its cradle. (See also hang it up.) Please hang this up when I pick up the other phone. Please hang up the phone.
1. [for a machine or a computer] to grind to a halt; to stop because of some internal complication. Our computer hung up right in the middle of printing the report. I was afraid that my computer would hang up permanently.
2. to replace the telephone receiver after a call; to terminate a telephone call. I said good-bye and hung up. Please hang up and place your call again.
hang up(on someone or something)
1. and hang up (in someone's ear) to end a telephone call by returning the receiver to the cradle while the other party is still talking. She hung up on me! I had to hang up on all that rude talk.
2. to give up on someone or something; to quit dealing with someone or something. Finally, I had to hang up on Jeff. I can't depend on him for anything. We hung up on them because we knew we couldn't make a deal.
have more than one string to one's fiddle
Rur. to have many talents. Joe has more than one string to his fiddle. He's a good painter, and he also cooks and fixes cars. This job involves a lot of different duties. We'll need to hire someone who has more than one string to his fiddle.
play second fiddle (to someone)
Fig. to be in a subordinate position to someone. I'm tired of playing second fiddle to John. I'm better trained than he, and I have more experience. I shouldn't always play second fiddle.
There's many a good tune played on an old fiddle.
Prov. Old people can be very capable. Just because Nigel is old doesn't mean he's useless. There's many a good tune played on an old fiddle.
fiddle away somethingalso fiddle something away
to waste time doing nothing in particular Billy fiddles away hours on end arranging his model cars.
fiddle with something
1. to be busy with something without a special purpose fool with something Don't fiddle with the remote control - you'll break it!
2. to try to fix or use something complicated fool with something The report says that computer users spend about one-third of their time fiddling with the operating system and organizing files.Related vocabulary: fuss with something
to end a telephone connection I can't think of his name, but it'll come to me as soon as we hang up.
play second fiddle (to somebody/something)
to be in a less important position than someone or something else Radio has been playing second fiddle to television for decades now.
Usage notes: sometimes used without play
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of second fiddle (the lower part for a violin, a musical instrument with strings)
be on the fiddle(British & Australian informal)
to get money in a way that is not honest or not legal If he's not on the fiddle, how did he afford that huge car?
fiddle while Rome burns
to spend time enjoying yourself or doing things that are not important when you should be dealing with a serious problem
Usage notes: This phrase comes from a story about the Roman emperor Nero, who fiddled (= played the violin) while the city of Rome was burning.Environmentalists claim that the government is fiddling while Rome burns.
be as fit as a fiddle(British, American & Australian) also be as fit as a flea (British & Australian)
to be very healthy My Dad's nearly eighty now but he's as fit as a fiddle.
play second fiddle
if you play second fiddle to someone, they are in a stronger position or are more important than you (usually + to ) You'll have to choose between your wife and me. I won't play second fiddle to anyone.
fiddle while Rome burns
Occupy oneself with unimportant matters and neglect important ones during a crisis. For example, The account was falling through, but he was more worried about missing his golf game-talk about fiddling while Rome burns! This expression alludes to the legend that the Emperor Nero played his fiddle while watching the conflagration of Rome. [Mid-1600s]
fit as a fiddle
In excellent form or health. For example, He's not just recovered, he's fit as a fiddle. The original allusion of this simile has been lost. Its survival is probably due to the pleasant sound of its alliteration. [Early 1600s]
1. Suspend on a hook or hanger, as in Let me hang up your coat for you. [c. 1300]
2. Also, hang up on. Replace a telephone receiver in its cradle; end a phone conversation. For example, She hung up the phone, or He hung up on her. [Early 1900s]
3. Delay or hinder; also, become halted or snagged, as in Budget problems hung up the project for months, or Traffic was hung up for miles. [Second half of 1800s]
4. Have or cause to have emotional difficulties, as in Being robbed at gunpoint can hang one up for years to come. [Slang; early 1900s]
5. hung up on. Obsessed with, as in For years the FBI was hung up on Communist spies. [First half of 1900s]
6. hang up one's sword or gloves or fiddle . Quit, retire, as in He's hanging up his sword next year and moving to Florida. The noun in these expressions refers to the profession one is leaving- sword for the military, gloves for boxing, and fiddle for music-but they all are used quite loosely as well, as in the example.
7. hang up one's hat. Settle somewhere, reside, as in "Eight hundred a year, and as nice a house as any gentleman could wish to hang up his hat in" (Anthony Trollope, The Warden, 1855).
play second fiddle
Assume a subsidiary role to someone, as in Mary resented always playing second fiddle to her older sister. This term alludes to the part of second violin in an orchestra. Although many would argue it is as important as first violin, it is the idea of subordinacy that was transferred in the figurative term, so used since about 1800.
To act foolishly, playfully, or without a clear sense of purpose: If you don't stop fiddling around and start working, we'll never get home.
To waste or squander some period of time: I fiddled away the afternoon surfing the Internet. The lazy student fiddled the night away instead of doing homework.
1. To make unskilled or experimental efforts at repairing or improving something: I fiddled with the broken toaster, but I couldn't fix it.
2. To manipulate something without a clear sense of purpose: Stop fiddling with the remote or you'll break it.
1. To suspend something on a hook or hanger: Please hang your jacket up in the closet. I hung up my bathrobe on the hook.
2. To replace a telephone receiver on its base or cradle: I hung up the phone and returned to my chores. Will you hang that phone up and get back to your homework?
3. To end a telephone conversation: I said goodbye to my mother and hung up.
4. To delay or impede something; hinder something: Budget problems hung up the project for months. Squabbling hung the contract talks up for weeks.
5. To become snagged or hindered: The fishing line hung up on a rock.
6. To stop doing or participating in some activity: They are planning to hang up their law practice after 40 years. Trying to find your keys in the snow is a lost cause—you might as well hang it up.
7. Slang To have emotional difficulties or inhibitions. Used passively: If you weren't so hung up about your job, you'd be more fun to be around.
8. Slang To be obsessed or consumed with something. Used passively: I'm still hung up on that sale I missed last week.
n. a guitar. Listen to that guy play that belly fiddle!
1. n. a problem or concern; an obsession. (Usually hang-up.) She’s got some serious hang-ups about cats.
2. in. to say no; to cancel out of something. If you don’t want to do it, just hang up. I’ll understand.
in. to waste time; to do something ineffectually or inefficiently. (A blend of monkey around and fart around.) Stop monkey-farting and get over here and get to work. He wasted his time fiddle-farting, and never got the job done.
n. a person in a secondary role; the second best. (Frequently with play.) I won’t stay around here playing second fiddle for someone half my age and ability!
Play a less important role. In an orchestra or string quartet, music produced by the second violin(s) tends to play more of a supportive harmonic role than the more melodically prominent first violin player(s) play. By extension, “second fiddle” is a companion whose role is less recognized than the person who gets the credit.