1. a swindler, a card-sharp.
2. (orig. US) a swindle, a fraud.
|Sl. Dict. 160: Fiddle [...] In America, a swindle or an imposture.|
|AS XXI:1 Feb. 46: fiddle and flute or fiddle. A suit of clothes. [...] The word fiddle alone has its own slang meaning, especially as a verb, viz., to obtain by illicit means, generally including bribery or petty crime. Very near the American ‘graft.’.‘Some Notes on Rhyming Argot’ in|
|Fings II i: And ’e’s only pulling all the fiddles Cochran used ter swing!|
|Crust on its Uppers 29: It served as a handy front when one was working the income tax fiddle.|
|Enderby Outside in Complete Enderby (2002) 297: It was a bit of a fiddle, and I think I’ve learned my leson now about that sort of thing.|
|Sir, You Bastard 38: People [...] delighted in telling other people their little fiddles.|
|Auf Wiedersehen Pet Two 176: If the Customs and Excise found out about Ally’s fiddles, plus the rest.|
|Yes We have No 115: All that’s left is the fiddle.|
|(con. 1950) Silvertown 197: The whole East End is a complex web of scams with the docks at its heart. New terms have to be invented for the art of the fiddle.|
|Sucked In 41: ‘You want to know if the union was corrupt?’ ‘Was it?’ ‘There might’ve been the odd little fiddle’.|
3. an unrewarding, annoying job of work.
|Metro 3 Aug. 13: Say goodbye to the fiddle of taking off your nail polish.|
cheating, committing fraud, swindling.
|(con. 1910–20s) Hell’s Kitchen 117: At the fiddle ... living dishonestly; trying to take advantage of.|
|You’re in the Racket, Too 9: Others, who had yet to raise the dough, were getting ready to go out on the fiddle.|
|Adolescent Boys of East London (1969) 148: The governor’s on the fiddle.|
|All Bull 209: The man before me had been cooking the wardroom wine accounts, not on the fiddle but because he did not know what he was doing.|
|Rhyme Stew (1990) 54: Hey diddle diddle / We’re all on the fiddle.|
|BBC Radio Listings 8 Aug. On the Fiddle Tue 8 Aug, 10:35 pm – 11:35 pm 60mins [...] With executive access to the biggest ever operation against organised benefit fraud [etc.].|
|Sucked In 245: You reckon the bankbooks will make the cops think Charlie talbot and Barry Quinlan were on the fiddle.|