Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

FIDDLER, n. Sc. usages:

1. The sandpiper, Tringa hypoleucos (Sc. 1842 W. Macgillivray Brit. Ornith. II. 97), “from the manner in which it continually vibrates its body, as if on a pivot” (Heb. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 197; Sc. 1915 S. Gordon Hill Birds Scot. 278).

2. The crane-fly, daddy-long-legs (Ags. c.1890 per Abd.27; Inv. 1920 per Cai.8). Comb. blind fiddler, the water-strider, Hygrotrechus conformis (Per. 1894 Trans. Per. Soc. Nat. Science 7).

3. Phrs. and combs.: †(1) fiddler-fou, very drunk; †(2) fiddler-pouched, with deep, bulgy pockets; (3) fiddler's biddin, a belated last-minute invitation (ne.Sc., m.Lth., wm.Sc. 1951). See Bid, v., n.1, 2., Biddin, vbl.n.1; also fiddler's ca, id. (Kcb., Dmf. 1950), fiddler's invite (Ayr. 1950); (4) fiddler's news, stale news (ne.Sc., Ags., Per., Fif., m.Lth., Wgt., Rxb. 1950). Cf. piper's news, s.v. Piper; (5) fiddlers' tales, id. (1) Edb. 1864 W. Fergusson Poems 20:
An' she was dancin' fiddler-fou.
(2) Dmf. 1822 Scots Mag. (May) 634:
I ken by his fiddler-pouch'd coat, and the neuk o' his mither's silk napkin fluttering atween the tails o't.
(3) Abd. 1891 Bon-Accord (14 March) 18:
A young masher is up to the neck in despair at not getting an invitation in time to allow him to attend the ceremony. Fiddler's biddin's are very uncommon on the Hillock.
(4) Slg. 1885 W. Towers Poems 69:
I hear ane crying, “Fiddler's news!” Fiddler's! or piper's if ye choose.
(5) Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 222:
I dinna wish to hear pipers' news and fiddlers' tales. . . . I ken you've tint your goodman.

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Fiddler n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2021 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: