Fiddle Faddle

Silly Sayings Day

Oct 13

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Today's Musings, History & Folklore

Fiddle Faddle

Oct 13th is "Silly Sayings Day," a day to use funny or idiomatic expressions in the language.

"Fiddle Faddle" is what is known as a "reduplicated" or "richochet" word in the English Language. Reduplication in linguistics is a process by which the root or stem of a word or even the whole word is repeated exactly or with a slight change.

Reduplication is used to convey a grammatical function, such as plurality or intensification. 

"Fiddle Faddle," meaning "trifling, foolish talk" first appears in print in 1593 and is the name of a well known traditional folk tune (and a popular toffee popcorn).

Here are some classic reduplicated words in English: ding-dong, flimflam, gewgaw, harum-scarum, higgledy-piggledy, hocus-pocus, hodgepodge, toity-toity, hotchpotch, hubble-bubble, hubbub, hugger-mugger, hullabaloo, hurdy-gurdy, hurly burly, itty-bitt, mishmash, mumbo-jumbo, namby-pamby, niminy-piminy, pall-mall, pell-mell, roly-poly, shillyshally, tittle-tattle, voodoo, willy-nilly, wishy-washy, and zigzag!

Scottish reduplicated words include: catter-batter, clitter-clatter, currie-wurrie, diddle-daddle, feery-farry, fick-facks, gilly-gawkie, haggerty-taggery, glim-glam, hikertie-pickertie, hiddie-giddie, hingum-tringum, hinkie-pinkie, hirrie-harrie, hish-hash, hockerty-cockerty, hodge-podge, hudderie-dudderie, hurry-burry, mixter-maxter, pitter-patter, snochter-dichter, tirr-wirr, too-hoo, trittle-trattle, and yiff-yaff!

If nothing else, they are very fun to say out loud!

Should the definitions of any of these Scottish reduplications be unknown to you, click the reduplicated Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

Fiddle Faddle
Fiddle Faddle

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