Fiddlesticks

Who knew that such a nonsense word as fiddlesticks had such varied etymology? Certainly not me. I know it’s generally an expression meaning something akin to “Nonsense!” I’ve heard the expression fiddlesticks many times, but when I came across it today while reading Elizabeth George, it struck me as a really good word. One character says it, and another wonders to himself what sort of word it is and why it’s being used in the current century.  In my research I found that fiddlesticks are traditional instruments used to add percussion to fiddle music, allowing two people to play the fiddle at the same time. Shakespeare wrote, “The devil rides on a fiddle-stick”, meaning a commotion has broken out. The fiddle-stick here is related to a witch’s broomstick. Yet another site implied people might use fiddlesticks as an expression, simply because it starts with an F. You might say fiddle-dee-dee instead of fiddlesticks, though they appear to mean the same thing. I don’t know about you, but I can’t hear the word without picturing Scarlett O’Hara uttering it as a particularly strong curse word. So next time you’re at a loss for a swear word and don’t want to use one of the traditional ones, try fiddlesticks.

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2 thoughts on “Fiddlesticks

  1. I love the word ‘fiddlesticks.’ It speaks of a more innocent time. I also like ‘shucks and gee whiz.’ I think I am channeling Becky Thatcher.

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