Note: Sense 1 was previously tiddly-bender(s).
tiddly-bender n Also teetlee-bender, teetley-bendoe, tiddledy-bender, tidly-bender, tittly-bender chiefly MA Cf bender n 1, tiddlies n
1 = tickly-bender n; hence v phr run tiddly-benders.
1878 (1879) Shillaber Ike Partington 153 seNH, The old cellar was frozen over so hard, that the boys could slide upon it, and make “tidly benders,” without any more accident than sometimes breaking through the ice and wetting their feet. 1888 Boston Morning Jrl. (MA) 17 Dec 3/6, Running tiddledies, or “tiddledy-benders,” is a great test of character. 1890 DN 1.75 MA, Tittly benders . . pl.: sallies out on thin ice. “He cuts a tittly bender” is a possible phrase. Possibly applied to the ice itself. 1892 DN 1.213 ceMA, Tittly benders. . . The expression was applied to the ice itself. “Running benders” was a common phrase. 1901 St. Nicholas 28.366, Once I saw a herd [of caribou] engaged in what seemed to me a dangerous kind of fun—the same kind of fun that all children enjoy under the name of “teetlee-benders.” 1905 Shute Real Boys 210 seNH, The crisp singing of the rocker blades was punctuated by the dull thud of small craniums on the hard ice, and the shrill shouts of “Shinney on your own side,” “Who yer hittin’?” “No fair holdin’,” “Tiddly benders, tiddly benders!” and other cries appropriate to the season. 1909 Packhard Wildwood 53, New ice thus formed has a wonderful strength in proportion to its thickness. . . The small boy knows this instinctively and applies it as he successfully runs “teetley-bendoes” to the amazement and terror of the uninitiated grown-ups. 1943 LANE Map 575, Sliding on thin ice. . . 1 inf, seMA, [ˈtɪdlɪ ˌbɛndəz]. 1970 DARE (Qu. B35, Ice that will bend when you step on it, but not break) Inf MA100, Tiddly-benders.
2 See quot.
1958 Sat. Eve. Post Letters MA, Tiddely-bender [sic]—In the spring . . there would be small areas of water . . covered with ice. . . A group would gather on one side—One at a time would skate across—the ice would bend. . . The last one safely across was a Tiddley-bender [sic].