Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day 120

The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue was first published at the end of the eighteenth century, and given that the current health crisis is giving too much time to read books, I thought I’d pick a daily word from it until I got bored….

Fiddle Faddle

I’ve decided that I very much like this phrase, which is defined as “trifling discourse, nonsense. A mere fiddle faddle fellow; a trifier”. I think that ‘trifier’ is a mis-spelling for ‘trifler’, but ignoring that, I suspect that many people could guess what this phrase might mean even without the definition.

In the United States, the phrase is probably better known for different reasons, namely that it’s a brand of popcorn that was introduced in 1967. The original phrase dates back to around the sixteenth century, and it’s just the present tense of fiddle and the past-tense of fiddle, which was then ‘faddle’.

And we can see the sad evidence of this charming little phrase going out of usage…… Having written that, I’m sure there are some people who still use the phrase. But not enough, I shall make an effort to use this more on the blog.