Hey, Camp Folks!
There are so many common phrases and expressions that have been so sewn into the fabric of our everyday speech that we use them without even realizing it. Some can sound a bit bizarre if you don’t know the origin of the phrase. For example, ‘Dead as a Doornail’ originated literally from large doornails that have been clinched and thus rendered useless. You can read more about that right here. (https://everythingsummercamp.com/blogs/news/veiled-nail)
For today’s post, however, let’s take a look at the phrase ‘Fit as a Fiddle’. When someone is looking to be the picture of health, you could say that they’re feeling fit as a fiddle. Fit as in fitness.
However, the word ‘fit’ didn’t initially refer to physical fitness as it is so often used nowadays. It used to simply mean seemly or suitable. People would use it like this: “Such a beautiful day is fit for a stroll outside.”
So where’s the fiddle come in? The fiddle (also known as a violin) requires rather fine tuning in order to play the intricate melodies expected of them in the country and western/bluegrass styles.
Records from the year 1603 show the phrase originally coined was actually ‘Fine as a Fiddle’ or ‘Good as a Fiddle’. Once somebody stumbled upon ‘Fit as a Fiddle’, though, it stuck better than the rest—likely because of the alliteration with the repeating F’s. ‘Fine as a Fiddle’ has alliteration with the F’s too, but the next letter, the I, is pronounced differently in ‘fine’ as it is in ‘fiddle’ while ‘fit’ and ‘fiddle’ have the I pronounced the same way, sort of creating a half-rhyme.
Be sure to use this when you someone is feeling better after being sick or just in a generally chipper mood! Tune in next month when we’ll be studying the term ‘Off the Cuff’. Until then, keep up with your workout routine to stay fit. And, as always, thanks for reading.