Definition of fiddly in US English:



  • Complicated or detailed and awkward to do or use.

    ‘replacing the battery is fiddly’
    • ‘Okay, it's not rocket science, but it's still really fiddly, and we're not lying on our backs under a kitchen sink.’
    • ‘I find it very difficult tying hairs on hooks and other small fiddly things with my hands, which these days which never seem to be free of pain.’
    • ‘This, however, is so fiddly and impossible to operate that even my eight-year-old son was stumped.’
    • ‘When she cooks, she does not make a fiddly Korean banquet or a tri-coloured roulade with a difficult sauce.’
    • ‘But those fiddly, pretty styles involving clips and partings everywhere are beyond me.’
    • ‘I've not used it before - it was a bit fiddly but I was very impressed.’
    • ‘A close cousin of radicchio, it is dead fiddly to grow.’
    • ‘The radio is of the small and fiddly variety, with the controls at the base of the central console, making them hard to reach while driving.’
    • ‘Like most DVD recorders, the Sony is fiddly to use compared with VHS machines.’
    • ‘Soup-making is often viewed as time-consuming and fiddly.’
    • ‘The game's main faults are the fiddly control system.’
    • ‘Everyday things have become fiddly, making a cup of tea is a complicated process when I can hardly see.’
    • ‘On a drawer measuring a square inch, that's fiddly work.’
    • ‘This task took me a couple of hours to complete, mainly because the tags were rather fiddly, but I'm extremely pleased with the results.’
    • ‘And you wouldn't believe how fiddly it is to persuade Windows 98 to use only the left hand side of a computer screen.’
    • ‘This week it's time for the details, pitfalls and fiddly bits.’
    • ‘It dispenses the necessary white stuff delicately with the minimum of fuss while the oafs around you flounder with fiddly lids and squeezy bottles.’
    • ‘But as it's not stand-alone and looks a bit fiddly to install and run, it's probably less hassle to save up for a new camera.’
    • ‘I found it a bit fiddly, but then I haven't used a different browser since Netscape disappeared from sight about five years back.’
    • ‘This ensures that the charcoal is glowing rather than smoking, and gets the fiddly lighting process out of the way before anyone arrives.’
    problematic, hard, puzzling, baffling, perplexing, confusing, mystifying, mysterious
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