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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FIDDLE, n. Also fidle, fidel. Sc. usages:

1. A hand-machine for sowing grain, worked by drawing a rod to and fro over a slotted opening in the seed-container with a motion similar to that of a violin bow (ne.Sc., Ags., Per., m.Lth., Bwk., Arg., Ayr., sm.Sc. 1950).Uls. 1942 E. E. Evans Irish Heritage 91:
An alternative method, which is perhaps of fairly recent introduction, is to sow with the “fiddle and bow.”
Bnff. 1952 Banffshire Jnl. (13 May):
Sowing Basket, Sowing Fiddle, Shovels and Graips.

2. In pl.: the marsh marigold, Caltha palustris (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 46).

3. The female pudendum (Sc. 18th cent. Merry Muses (1911) 44).Edb. 1817 C. L. Ramsay MS. Poems 94:
Aiblins jumping round their fiddle, Biting whaur folk darena middle.

4. Phrs. and combs.: (1) fiddle-chin, a long narrow chin; (2) fiddle-diddle, adv., describing the sound of a fiddle. Gen.Sc. Cf. Diddle, v.1; †(3) fiddle-doup, long, scraggy posteriors, used as an epithet of abuse; (4) fiddle face, a long, hence often melancholy, face (m.Lth., Arg., Ayr. 1951);  †(5) fiddlestick, a spring saw, esp. one used by burglars. Thieves' slang; (6) like the far (awa) end o a (French) fiddle, of a facial expression, long, sour(ly), disdainful(ly), (Ork.5, m.Lth.1, Bwk.3, Lnk.11, Rxb.5 1950); †(7) my father's fiddle, the name of a boys' game (see quot.); †(8) to be made of a fiddle, of the face (see quot.); (9) to find a fiddle, to come upon something rare, precious or amusing (Sc. 1887 Jam.), to get a pleasant surprise (Bnff.2 1942; Abd.27 1952); ‡(10) to mak a fine fiddle o, ironically, to make a botch of, to bungle; (11) to fiddle-rin, in sewing: to fill one's needle with a number of running stitches before pulling the thread through, the movements resembling those of a violin player (Ayr. 1967);(1) Dmf. 1822 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 306:
Tibby Affleck's lucken brows, whaup-nose, fiddle-chin, and projecting teeth, solemnly declared that Mungo Baxter was no judge of beauty.
(2) Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry 140:
Pipe and fiddle, That garr'd resound maist a' the widdle, Skrieghin' and screedin' fiddle-diddle.
Ayr. 1846 Ballads and Songs (ed. Paterson) I. 21:
Fidel-didel, fidel-didel, went the fiddlers three.
(3) Bwk. 1856 G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 98:
Ill-canker't fiddle-doup, leaving ay her trail And slubbery o' filthy stuff.
(4) Kcb. 1885 A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe 193:
Gaun wi' a nievefu' o' trac's an' a lang fiddle face whan he enters the cottages o' the sick puir.
(5) Sc. 1821 D. Haggart Life 31:
I . . . remained there a day, during which I was occupied in obtaining a fiddlestick for Barney [who was in prison].
(6) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 173:
He look'd to me like the far end of a French Fiddle.
Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 224:
“The deil's in the daft jad,” quo' the fairy, looking like the far-end o' a fiddle.
Wgt. 1880 G. Fraser Lowland Lore 156:
A person of a sour countenance is said to “hae a face like the far en' o' a French fiddle.”
Per. 1883 R. Cleland Inchbracken 20:
He glowered at a body like the far awa end o' Willie Cant's fiddle.
(7) Mry., Bnff. 1894 A. W. Gomme Trad. Games I. 120:
One boy says to another, “Divv ye ken aboot my father's fiddle?” On replying that he does not, the questioner takes hold of the other's right hand with his left, and stretches out the arm. With his right hand he touches the arm gently above the elbow, and says, “My father had a fiddle, an' he brook it here, an' he brook it here” (touching it below the elbow), “an' he brook it throw the middle,” and comes down with a sharp stroke on the elbow-joint.
(8) Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xxxvii.:
His face was made of a fiddle, as they say, for a'body that looked on him liked him.
(9) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 123:
Then her bony face Tauld she boot be come of some gentle race; And Dick thought now that he had found a fidle.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 39:
I'm as light's gif I had fun' a fiddle.
Slk. c.1827 Hogg Souters of Slk. (1874) 318:
I daresay, then, you thought you had found a fiddle in't. What were ye guffawing and laughing at!
(10) Abd. 1880 G. Webster Crim. Officer 42:
Hooever that maksna; he hed made a fine fiddle o' 't, an' aifter bidein' awa' a file hed gart the Fiscal believe 't they war in London an' wud never be gotten.

5. In ropemaking: an instrument serving as a kind of comb, used for keeping the fibres of hemp even and free from tangles as they are twisted into yarns by the spinner in the ropewalk (Ork. 1975).wm.Sc. 1842 Children in Trades Report (2) I. 47, 60:
They also run what is called a fiddle up and down the threads to keep them even and regular as they are twisted together into yarns. . . . Running a machine, called a fiddle, down the whole length, to keep the string distinct, like warping-threads for a weaver.

6. The bow of a bow-drill.Abd. 1769 Abd. Univ. Review xliv. 268:
A fidle; a dreel-bow.

[In phr. (10), fiddle may be orig. a corrupt form of Findle, q.v. Fiddle-douped occurs in O.Sc. p.1560 (in J. Watson Choice Coll. (1709) II. 54).]

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"Fiddle n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Feb 2024 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/fiddle>

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