Definition of fiddle while Rome burns in English:

fiddle while Rome burns


  • Be concerned with relatively trivial matters while ignoring the serious or disastrous events going on around one.

    • ‘I see the Conservatives on Swindon Council have nothing better to do than fiddle while Rome burns.’
    • ‘The late Leo Strauss once said of men such as Ignatius that they fiddle while Rome burns, but that they are excused by two facts.’
    • ‘Concentrating on the minutiae of a single procedural issue, rather than on developing the fundamental aims of planning and on the effective delivery of these aims, is merely fiddling while Rome burns.’
    • ‘To fiddle while Rome burns is neither new nor unique to our community.’
    • ‘To ignore the internal threat is to fiddle while Rome burns.’
    • ‘The University, forgetting about software, and forgetting about the future of the stream, fiddling while Rome burns, or whatever it does, thinks that it's going to come to grips with the world by putting course notes on the Web.’
    • ‘Or perhaps you could knit instead - Scarlett Johansson and Sarah Jessica Parker do it between takes - the modern equivalent of fiddling while Rome burns.’
    • ‘It's easy to get destroyed if we react in a stereotypical way - we castle into the attack and then fiddle while Rome burns.’
    • ‘This astounding piece of fiddling while Rome burns was written no doubt to the sound of whalesong and the pungent aroma of joss sticks.’
    • ‘Environmentalists, no doubt, will accuse Americans of fiddling while Rome burns.’