diddle


diddle
\ \ [19] The current meaning of diddle, ‘to cheat or swindle’, was probably inspired by Jeremy Diddler, a character who was constantly borrowing money and neglecting to repay it in James Kenney’s play Raising the Wind (1803) (the expression raise the wind means ‘to procure the necessary money’). Diddler immediately caught on as a colloquialism for a ‘swindler’, and by at the latest 1806 the verb diddle was being used in the corresponding sense. It may be that Kenney based the name Diddler on another colloquial verb diddle current at that time, meaning ‘to move shakily’ or ‘to quiver’.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • diddle — to cheat, swindle, 1806, from dial. duddle, diddle to totter (1630s). Meaning waste time is recorded from 1825. Meaning to have sex with is from 1879; that of to masturbate (especially of women) is from 1950s. More or less unrelated meanings that …   Etymology dictionary

  • diddle — diddle1 [did′ l] vt. diddled, diddling [dial. duddle, diddle, to totter, akin to DODDER1] 1. Informal to move back and forth in a jerky or rapid manner; jiggle 2. Slang a) to have sexual intercourse with b) …   English World dictionary

  • Diddle — Did dle, v. i. [Cf. {Daddle}.] To totter, as a child in walking. [Obs.] Quarles. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Diddle — Did dle, v. t. [Perh. from AS. dyderian to deceive, the letter r being changed to l.] To cheat or overreach. [Colloq.] Beaconsfield. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • diddle — did‧dle [ˈdɪdl] verb [transitive] informal to get money from someone by deceiving them: • I m sure he diddled me out of quite a lot of money! …   Financial and business terms

  • diddle — ► VERB informal ▪ cheat or swindle. ORIGIN probably from Jeremy Diddler, a character in the farce Raising the Wind (1803) who constantly borrowed small sums of money …   English terms dictionary

  • diddle — diddle1 diddler, n. /did l/, v.t., diddled, diddling. Informal. to cheat; swindle; hoax. [1800 10; perh. special use of DIDDLE2] diddle2 diddler, n. /did l/, v., diddled, diddling …   Universalium

  • diddle — [19] The current meaning of diddle, ‘to cheat or swindle’, was probably inspired by Jeremy Diddler, a character who was constantly borrowing money and neglecting to repay it in James Kenney’s play Raising the Wind (1803) (the expression raise the …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • diddle — did|dle [ˈdıdl] v [T] BrE informal [Date: 1800 1900; Origin: Perhaps from Diddler, name of a character in a 19th century English play] to get money from someone by deceiving them diddle sb out of sth ▪ They ll diddle you out of your last penny if …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • diddle — vb 1. British to cheat. A common colloquial ism recorded since the early 1800s. ► Comedian Ken Dodd insisted on cash for shows to diddle the taxman, his former agent told a jury yesterday. (Daily Mirror, 5 July 1989) In Old English dydrian meant… …   Contemporary slang