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The meaning and origin of the expression: As fit as a fiddle

As fit as a fiddle

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What's the meaning of the phrase 'As fit as a fiddle'?

To be 'as fit as a fiddle' is to be very fit and well.

What's the origin of the phrase 'As fit as a fiddle'?

As fit as a fiddleOf course the 'fiddle' here is the colloquial name for violin. 'Fit' didn't originally mean healthy and energetic, in the sense it is often used nowadays to describe the inhabitants of gyms. When this phrase was coined 'fit' was used to mean 'suitable, seemly', in the way we now might say 'fit for purpose'.

Thomas Dekker, in The Batchelars Banquet, 1603 referred to 'as fine as a fiddle':

"Then comes downe mistresse Nurse as fine as a farthing fiddle, in her petticoate and kertle."

Not long afterwards, in 1616, there's W. Haughton's English-men for my Money, which includes:

"This is excellent ynfayth [in faith], as fit as a fiddle."

See other 'as X as Y similes'.

See also:

- Fiddling while Rome burns
- As fit as a butcher's dog
- Survival of the fittest

Gary Martin - the author of the website.

By Gary Martin

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