What Does Fuddy Duddy Mean?

Fuddy Duddy Meaning

Definition: An old-fashioned person with prudish ideas.

Sometimes this expression can describe an object as well.

Origin of Fuddy Duddy

It is unclear exactly how this phrase got started. It does seem appropriate for the topic, however.

Americans may have borrowed the words from Scottish. In Scottish, fuddy means buttocks and duddy means ragged.

One of the early uses of this term can be found in the Texas newspaper The Galveston Daily News, 1889:

  • Look here; I’m Smith – Hamilton Smith. I’m a minister and I try to do about right … I object to being represented as an old fuddy-duddy.

Examples of Fuddy Duddy

what is a fuddy duddyThe dialogue below shows two university students talking about the class that just finished a few minutes ago.

Nisha: What a great class! I’m so happy that our teacher is creative and innovative.

Alan: Really? You liked that class? I can’t believe you enjoyed it. I thought it was really unprofessional.

Nisha: How so?

Alan: I pay to take classes to hear the expert lectures of the professors. This class was filled with group work and practical experiments.

Nisha: Don’t be such a fuddy duddy!

Alan: How am I a fuddy duddy?

Nisha: It’s old fashioned to think lectures are the best and only way to learn. Recent research shows that learning is much more effective when you do a variety of activities in class.

definition of fuddy duddyThe second dialogue shows a father and son discussing the family restaurant.

Son: I did some research on the price of getting Internet and setting up Wi-Fi for the restaurant.

Dad: Nonsense! We aren’t providing Internet for our customers. We’re not an Internet cafe!

Son: Dad, come on. All restaurants are starting to provide Wi-Fi. Customers expect it.

Dad: The Internet is just a fad.

Son: We don’t want to look like fuddy duddies. If we want to stay up to date with technology, this is something we should do!

More Examples

The excerpt is about a style of car that is usually not popular. However, a specific version of this style is becoming popular in spite of that.

  • It has been a long time since the humble minivan has attracted this much attention.
  • Minivans, after all, are supposed to be fuddy duddy. Once popular family haulers, consumers have moved en masse to SUVs and crossovers. –USA Today

This excerpt is from an article about new recruits to professional football teams. The author thinks players should be focused more on the game, and less on extreme activities.

  • Maybe I’m just a fuddy duddy, but I can’t help but think the future NFL stars aren’t the ones jumping out of airplanes or shooting paintballs, but instead are the players who are happy but understated, focused and ready to work. –USA Today

Summary

The term fuddy duddy can describe a few types of people:

  • Someone who is stuck in the past.
  • Someone who isn’t open to new ideas.
  • Someone who is prudish of overly proper.