Definition of diddle in English:

diddle

Syllabification: did·dle
Pronunciation: /ˈdidl
 
/

verb

informal
1 [with object] (usually be diddled) Cheat or swindle (someone) so as to deprive them of something: he thought he’d been diddled out of his change
More example sentences
  • He was diddled out of his legacy, started with nothing but red ink in Adelaide, and now owns half the world.
  • We share part of the journey along her local high street and she points to the shop where she was diddled out of £15 when buying a pair of flip-flops - she was too timid to go back and challenge staff after discovering she'd been short-changed.
  • Disgust and anger were widespread in the labour movement this week as more workers were diddled out of their entitlements in a corporate sleight-of-hand.
1.1Deliberately falsify (something): he diddled his income tax returns
2 [no object] chiefly North American Pass time aimlessly or unproductively: why diddle around with slow costly tests?
More example sentences
  • A quick glance at the digital car clock told him that it was currently 9: 30 pm; they had spent a long time diddling around the studio without noticing the time flying by.
  • How many bad fantasy and horror movies does a person have to see to realize diddling around with this kind of stuff is a bad idea?
  • So I've been diddling about with the audio from my Arkansas trip.
2.1 (diddle with) Play or mess with: he diddled with the graphics on his computer
More example sentences
  • I sat there diddling with my mental abacus for a bit and came up with a grand total of 14.
  • I mean, that's saying look, I diddled with a lounge singer, or whatever it was.
  • And some people want to allow this same smirking pampered elitist hypocrite to diddle with the U.S. Constitution?
3 [with object] vulgar slang , chiefly North American Have sexual intercourse with (someone).
[originally in Scots dialect use in the sense 'jerk from side to side', apparently corresponding to dialect didder 'tremble']

Origin

early 19th century: probably from the name of Jeremy Diddler, a character in the farce Raising the Wind (1803) by the Irish dramatist James Kenney (1780–1849). Diddler constantly borrowed and failed to repay small sums of money: the name may have been based on an earlier verb diddle 'walk unsteadily, swerve'.

Derivatives

diddler

noun
More example sentences
  • It has become the profession of public office seekers, title hunters, social pushers, dollar diddlers, mountebanks and cads.
  • Some are kiddie diddlers, those so unhappy, so hungry, they're willing to take that repeated fatal risk.
  • With a little more prudence Dick Turpin would have made a good diddler.

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