In AE, can "fudge" and "dodge" be used just about interchangeably to convey the sense of circumvent [= avoid or try to avoid answering, fulfilling, or performing (duties, questions, issues, etc.)]?

Are these terms acceptable in whatever register of the English language but the most formal prose?

Also, Does "fudge" have any currency in modern day colloquial AE to mean "cheat or welsh [fudge on an exam, fudge on one's promises, etc.]?

  • In AmE, 'fudge' in that sense is informal, you probably wouldn't see it in a newspaper often. 'fudge' and 'dodge' are pretty different. 'dodge' means to get out of the way of, as in 'dodgeball'. 'fudge' means to 'slightly modify so as to work'. So it definitely doesn't mean to circumvent.
    – Mitch
    Mar 7, 2014 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


I can't speak for AmE, but in BrE, fudge in OP's context has more the sense of...

To reach a makeshift solution by glossing over differences or blurring distinctions
to prevaricate or temporize.

That definition is from OED, who also flag up...

to fudge and mudge [mudge: fanciful rhyming alteration of fudge]
first recorded in a speech on 2 October 1980 by British politician David Owen

Therefore I would say that fudging an issue means distorting/smudging the issue, so it's not clear exactly what is being discussed. That's somewhat different to dodging the issue (actually avoiding addressing it at all, rather than making it confused), and completely different to cheating.

Having said that, there are contexts where if a makeshift solution is fudged/cobbled together, someone might say you were metaphorically "cheating" because you didn't "follow the rules" which were implicitly expected to be observed by your solution.

  • That's pretty much the same in AmE. "Fudge" definitely has a sense of a short-cut being taken or doing something not entirely on the up-and-up to achieve a goal. It can also be used to soften the sentiment that someone outright lied about something: "He totally fudged his way through that explanation to the boss why our report is not done!" Mar 7, 2014 at 18:52
  • @Kristina: This OP specialises in finding atypical usages where it's not always clear if they're dialect/idiolect or plain error, but I never heard of fudge = cheat / welsh in any BrE context. Are they remotely credible in AmE? Mar 7, 2014 at 21:18
  • I'm not having a good day...but I'll venture to say that I have not heard of "fudge" being used to mean "welsh", like welshing on a bet. I guess that by my understanding of the word, "cheat", I wouldn't use "fudge" there either. I might say, "I fudged a few of my answers on my test" to mean that I either took a guess at the answer or tried to bamboozle my way through an answer without (hopefully) letting on I didn't know what the heck I was talking about. Mar 7, 2014 at 21:24

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