'Fit as a Fiddle’: Definition, Meaning, Examples

By Carly Forsaith, updated on September 30, 2023

Have you ever heard the expression 'fit as a fiddle' and wondered what on earth it could mean? In this article, you'll learn the meaning of this popular idiom, its origins, and how to use it.

Here's the short version:

  • To be 'fit as a fiddle' means to be in great health, physically strong and healthy. 

What Does 'Fit as a Fiddle' Mean?

Since this phrase is an idiom, you shouldn't interpret it literally. It's a metaphor to refer to someone who is very healthy and full of energy.

The dictionary defines it as follows:

in good physical condition : very healthy and strong 

Say, for example, that you were worried about your grandmother, who is getting old, and you brought up your concerns to your friend.

They might say:

You've got nothing to worry about; your nan's fit as a fiddle. 

This phrase, though metaphorical, is an example of a comparative sentence, as it compares the subject of the sentence with a fiddle. It's worth noting that it doesn't follow the usual formula when comparing two things, where you would usually use the adverb 'as' before the adjective as well as after it.

For example:

I'm as tall as my brother.

With this idiom, you don't need to use the initial 'as.'

My dog's fit as a fiddle.

Where Does 'Fit as a Fiddle' Come From?

The origin of this expression is not entirely clear, but it dates back to at least the 17th century in English. 'Fit as a fiddle' could be a variation of an older idiom, "as right as a fiddle," where "right" means "in good health" or "in proper order." Over time, this may have evolved into "fit as a fiddle."

A fiddle is a colloquial name for a violin, and 'fit' refers to something appropriate and suitable for its purpose. So, to say that something was fit as a fiddle was to say that it was as suitable as a violin for playing music. Many believe the fiddle was chosen because of the alliteration with the words 'fit' and 'fiddle' (both begin with the letter f).

  • While its actual origins remain a mystery, there are many examples of it being used in literature over the years.

Here are some examples.

The phrase makes an appearance in Thomas Dekker's 1603 The Batchelars Banquetwith a slight variation: 'fine as a fiddle.'

Then comes downe mistresse Nurse as fine as a farthing fiddle, in her petticoate and kertle.

Then it's found in William Haughton's English-men for My Money:

"This is excellent ynfayth, as fit as a fiddle."

Later, Australian politician Joh Bjelke Petersen is believed to have said, in 1988, with another variation of the phrase:

[I'm] fit as a ballroom full of quicksteps

Examples in Sentences

Now we've covered the meaning of the popular idiom and its possible origins, let's look at some sentence examples so you can see how it's used in real-life contexts.

After his daily workouts and healthy diet, John felt as fit as a fiddle.

Despite her age, Grandma was still as fit as a fiddle and could outwalk anyone in the family.

Sarah trained hard for the marathon, and on race day, she felt fit as a fiddle and ready to go.

Even after his hip surgery, Tom made a remarkable recovery and was soon back to being fit as a fiddle.

The athlete maintained a strict training regimen to stay fit as a fiddle for the upcoming championship.

Though Emily had been anxious about her health check-up, her doctor commented that she was as fit as a fiddle.

After a week at the wellbeing retreat, Maria felt rejuvenated and as fit as a fiddle.

Mark's commitment to staying fit as a fiddle was a big part of his happiness.

Despite his busy schedule, James managed to stay fit as a fiddle by making time for daily workouts.

When the hiking trail became steep and challenging, Amanda's determination and stamina showed that she was indeed as fit as a fiddle.

Other Ways to Say 'Fit as a Fiddle'

Though 'fit as a fiddle' is a great way to say that someone is healthy and fit, you can also say it in many other ways.

Here are some of them:

  • as fit as a butcher's dog
  • fit as a flea
  • fit as a trout
  • fit as a brown trout
  • vigorous
  • robust
  • in good shape
  • full of life
  • physically fit
  • in fine feather

Concluding Thoughts

That pretty much concludes this article about the famous saying. To summarize, when someone is fit as a fiddle, it means they are in excellent health, full of energy and vitality.

Are you ready to learn more English phrases and expand your vocabulary? Check out our idioms blog for idioms, expressions, sayings, and more! 

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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