In fine fettle is an idiom that contains a fossil word. A fossil word is an obsolete word that is no longer in common use, yet is preserved in certain phrases or idioms. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as beat around the bush, cut the mustard, let the cat out of the bag, hit the sack, ankle biter, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom in fine fettle, where it comes from and some examples of its use in sentences.
In fine fettle means in good condition, healthy, feeling good. The idiom in fine fettle is somewhat old-fashioned, but it is still in use. Fettle is a fossil word, and is almost never seen except in the phrase in fine fettle. Fettle means status or condition, and is derived from the Middle English word fetlen which means to prepare or put into shape, or the Old English word fetian, which means to fetch.
The defending champions have performed well since then, especially in their Asia sojourn, but with Smith and Warner re-integrating with the side, current captain Aaron Finch will need a more experienced hand on his shoulders to ensure that the atmosphere within the team is in fine fettle. (The Economic Times)
JOHN Gosden reports Stradivarius in fine fettle ahead of his seasonal reappearance in today’s Matchbook Yorkshire Cup at York. (Yorkshire Evening Post)
The U.S. economy is in fine fettle and is operating at or close to the Federal Reserve’s twin goals of maximum employment and price stability, Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said. (Bloomberg News)
Each are in fine fettle here, with Poulter congratulating Tiger on handling the pressure of a Poulter gallery on moving day and Tiger becoming incensed when Poulter swipes one his trademark cliches right out from under him. (Golf Digest)