In Fine Fettle—Origin & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

What does in fine fettle mean? Does it involve fiddling on a rooftop or showing mettle in a challenging situation? Not quite. But don’t worry, I’m about to get into a fine fettle of form and explain this phrase, its origin, and how you can use it in a sentence. Let’s go!

In Fine Fettle Meaning Explained

In Fine Fettle Origin Meaning

Simply put, to be considered in fine fettle means to be in good health or in good spirits, essentially to be in top form. It’s like the feeling you get after a brisk morning jog or when you’ve finally submitted that first draft to your editor that’s been hanging over your head. You’re feeling good; you’re in fine fettle.

I just finished my latest book, and when I clicked that send button to my editor, I felt this wave of relief and took a deep breath. I guess you could say I was definitely in fine fettle!

The opposite expression would be something like feeling in bad fettle, which would mean not in good shape.

Origin and Etymology of in Fine Fettle

In Fine Fettle Ngram
In fine fettle usage trend.

The noun fettle came from Old English during the 1700s and was used to refer to the condition or state of anything. In its verb form, fettle meant to prepare or get ready.

The phrase in fine fettle eventually popped up around the mid-19th century and was used to mean in good condition, whether it was a person or an object. So, when you say you’re in fine fettle, you’re letting the world know you’re feeling top-notch.

Is It in Fine Fettle or in Fine Mettle or in Fine Fiddle

While all three phrases exist, they have slightly different meanings. Let’s break it down.

  • In fine fettle means being in good health or condition.
  • Fine mettle suggests a state of good spirits or courage.
  • Fine fiddle is when you’re in good health or physical condition.

So, depending on whether you’re talking about your physical or emotional state, you might choose to use one phrase over the other. But, really, they’re all so similar, you could use them interchangeably.

What Is a Synonym for in Fine Fettle?

The English language loves variety, especially in written form, so here are a few other ways to express that you or someone else is in fine fettle.

  1. In high spirits
  2. In good shape
  3. In top form
  4. Feeling top notch
  5. Hale and hearty
  6. Fighting fit

In Fine Fettle Examples in a Sentence

In Fine Fettle Origin Meaning 1

Now, let’s put in fine fettle into action with a few sentence examples showing deeper context surrounding the expression.

  • After a week at the spa, my mom returned home in obvious fine fettle.
  • Despite his age, I knew my father was in fine fettle as I watched him playing with his grandkids in the park.
  • I always feel in splendid fettle after finishing a good book.
  • After a week of intense training, my son’s soccer team was in fine fettle for the championship game.
  • He woke up in fine fettle on the day of his job interview, feeling confident and ready to land the position.
  • After the paid holiday break, all the employees returned to work in fine fettle.

Are You Feeling in Fine Fettle?

Well, there you have it; you’re now in fine fettle to use this phrase in everyday conversation. So, whether you’re in high spirits or just feeling physically fit, remember you’re in fine fettle and ready to take on the world! If the phrase feels too old-world, try one of the synonyms I suggested! And if you have a question about idioms and phrases like this, let us know!