1. to make one’s living taking small jobs on the street, e.g. unloading a cart.
|,||Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.|
|, ,||Sl. Dict.|
2. to cheat, to swindle [prior use from 17C is SE].
|(con. 1840s–50s) London Labour and London Poor III 130/2: We are generally fiddled most tremendous.|
|‘I Am A Downy Bird’ My Young Wife and I Songster 43: Now to be sold or ‘fiddled’ / This covey knows too much.|
|Musa Pedestris (1896) 176: Fiddle, or fence, or mace, or mack; / Or moskeneer, or flash the drag.‘Villon’s Straight Tip’ in Farmer|
|‘’Arry on Equality’ Punch 22 Feb. 85/2: Normans nicked? Landlords copped? Lawyers fiddled? Quite likely.|
|Tales of Mean Streets (1983) 139: They couldn’t ’ave me, not for a single farden—not a farden, try an’ fiddle as they would.|
|Advertiser (Adelaide) 16 June 16/1: A certain bookmaker used to call on them and ask for money ‘to fiddle these blokes up’.|
|Cheapjack 210: The tick-off is a fiddling game.|
|Indiscreet Guide to Soho 115: Men who will [...] ‘fiddle’ anything from sets of surgical instruments to books of clothing coupons.|
|Long and the Short and the Tall Act II: Nothing to choose between you – except Bammo fiddles it to suit himself.|
|Skyvers III iii: You go after the big things you know about, like rock ’n roll and football; even fiddlin’.|
|Sun. Times Mag. 12 Oct. 25: Others are ripping off the tax and fiddling their expenses.|
|He Died with His Eyes Open 23: Plenty of people these days fiddled the rules; they had to, to survive.|
|Remorseful Day (2000) 290: Could he have fiddled a few quid here and there?|
|Indep. 23 Feb. 8: Labour was becoming associated with ‘fix and fiddle’ in the same way that the Tories had been linked to sleaze.|
3. to drug liquor.
|Hooligan Nights 62: One of ’em [i.e. glasses of wine] ’e tasted ’imself, so’s to show me it wasn’t fiddled.|
4. (UK tramp) to beg.
|Other Half 277: Fiddle, to go about begging from different people.|
5. to cheat on one’s expenses.
|Loving (1978) 191: Fiddlin’ ’er monthly books. No. You know that’s serious this is.|
|Fill the Stage With Happy Hours (1967) Act VII: A bob or two a week is all he can fiddle on that fiddle diddle.|
6. to work as a petty thief.
|Homosexual Society 158: The one who ‘fiddles’ tools from the factory or who ‘wangles’ an income tax return.|
|Adolescent Boys of East London (1969) 147: Stealing from or defrauding one’s employer – often dignified by being described as ‘knocking off’ or ‘fiddling’.|