to fiddle with different ideas

salai

Senior Member
Russian
Hello,

Here is a line from a student's story:

"Our CEO is always on the move and likes to fiddle with different ideas and successfully, I should say."

The book of idioms we use gives the following definition of the expression "to fiddle with"-to work with, to experiment with.
I think this is a way too broad definition, and, as a result, the expression is used in this context incorrectly.
This definition is much better: To occupy oneself in an aimless or desultory way: liked to fiddle with all the knobs and dials.
To meddle or tamper: a reporter who fiddled with the facts.

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/fiddle#ixzz1QZLjLK5Z

What is your opinion?

Thank you in advance.






 
  • George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Quote---

    "Our CEO is always on the move and likes to fiddle with different ideas and successfully, I should say."

    The book of idioms we use gives the following definition of the expression "to fiddle with"-to work with, to experiment with."

    GF..

    It is nice to see that your book of idioms is correct, in this case!!!! :) ..........
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Here is a line from a student's story:

    "Our CEO is always on the move and likes to fiddle with different ideas and successfully, I should say."

    The book of idioms we use gives the following definition of the expression "to fiddle with"-to work with, to experiment with.
    I think this is a way too broad definition, and, as a result, the expression is used in this context incorrectly.
    This definition is much better: To occupy oneself in an aimless or desultory way: liked to fiddle with all the knobs and dials.
    To meddle or tamper: a reporter who fiddled with the facts.
    I agree with you, salai: the second definition is much better. "Fiddle with" is not used correctly in your student's sentence, I'm afraid - any CEO who was told he "fiddled with new ideas" would be pretty angry:eek::D.

    PS. "Experiment with" would work....
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    I use "fiddle with" simply to mean "make a large number of small adjustments to"; I didn't like the picture on my TV, so I fiddled with the settings and now it's perfect.

    I think there is a suggestion of not knowing in advance what the outcome will be, though, so I wouldn't say it directly to a CEO either (although I certainly might say it about one!). I wouldn't say it implies aimless or desultory, though. (I had to look up "desultory" to be sure. :eek:)
     

    salai

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Hello,

    I do not think the student is to blame. She just tried to use as many idioms as possible from a list she had been given. As the definition says "to experiment with", she made up this sentence. It's just I, subconsciously, felt something was wrong with the way the expression was used and started to dig up information.

    I am glad to know I was not off the base concerning this idiom.
     
    Last edited:

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I use "fiddle with" simply to mean "make a large number of small adjustments to"; I didn't like the picture on my TV, so I fiddled with the settings and now it's perfect.

    I think there is a suggestion of not knowing in advance what the outcome will be, though, so I wouldn't say it directly to a CEO either (although I certainly might say it about one!). I wouldn't say it implies aimless or desultory, though. (I had to look up "desultory" to be sure. :eek:)
    Is it idiomatic and natural to use "fiddle" as a substitute for "adjust"?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I agree with pob: the words aren't synonyms. I can adjust the picture by simply turning a knob, when I already know what needs to be done. If I'm not sure what the problem is I might fiddle with the controls for some time, trying to get a better picture.
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I agree with pob: the words aren't synonyms. I can adjust the picture by simply turning a knob, when I already know what needs to be done. If I'm not sure what the problem is I might fiddle with the controls for some time, trying to get a better picture.
    It is much clearer now. Thank you very much.
     
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