Definition of finagle in English:



  • 1 Obtain (something) by devious or dishonest means.

    ‘Ted attended all the football games he could finagle tickets for’
    • ‘If there were even a hint that the White House was finagling a release date like this today, it would be treated like a minor scandal.’
    • ‘Back then, many companies were finagling their numbers to make the results seem better.’
    • ‘Speaking of Wilcox, the Rockets finagled a private workout with the chiseled Maryland power forward after he completed his three general workout sessions in New York, Chicago and Phoenix.’
    • ‘Large businesses don't care so much about regulation - medium-large ones can eat the cost, supersized ones can finagle the regs so that the rules actually favor them - but small-timers have neither money nor pull.’
    • ‘In his Tuesday column, Paul Krugman hits the big question that shames every reporter who hasn't posed it to the president or whichever other privatizers they can finagle a minute with.’
    • ‘Of course, finagling free stuff can get you only so far.’
    • ‘Witt says his agency has finagled some funds from the DHS, although it has been ‘through the back door, ‘he says.’’
    • ‘They are finagling varying levels of credit from their schools for their work at Microsoft; still, it's unclear whether either of them will see much of academia in the future.’
    • ‘We all get opportunities, but when presented with hers, Martha used it for all it was worth, finally finagling a book deal in the process.’
    • ‘We should be in France, of course, but our teacher is wily, and has finagled for us a few days in England first.’
    • ‘The following organizations are especially helpful at finagling the rules toward the insurance industry's cause.’
    • ‘Well somehow we were able to finagle our way out of it and I won the game with double three.’
    • ‘I knew you were single and available and working at Charisma, so I finagled an invitation to the Elliotts' New Year's Eve party from Cullen.’
    • ‘It'll be up to me to finagle a new pair out of my dad's checkbook by the time Prom rolls around.’
    • ‘Two days before the April draft, Donovan finagled her second critical move.’
    • ‘He falls for the daughter of the cop who busted him, but then gets in hot water after finagling his way into a high-profile execution and taking a picture with a hidden camera.’
    • ‘By 1985 Heimlich had used his considerable celebrity from developing the Heimlich maneuver for choking to finagle a seat on the American Heart Association's Special Situations Committee.’
    • ‘Not wanting to play in Cleveland and give up his many business interests in the Boston area, Harrelson ‘retired’ for 48 hours, finagling a new two-year contract from the Indians during his brief layoff.’
    • ‘Indeed, she complained so much that she was able to finagle the chairmanship (sorry, the chairpersonship) of a committee tasked with finding discrimination at MIT.’
    • ‘That some leaders, as the weekend began, seemed to want to finagle enactment of the constitution anyway demonstrates how much some of them don't get it.’
    deceive, trick, dupe, outwit, fool, delude, cheat, take in, bluff, hoax, mislead, misguide, lead on, defraud, double-cross, swindle, gull, finagle, get the better of
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[no object]Act in a devious or dishonest manner.
      ‘they wrangled and finagled over the fine points’
      • ‘Considering the Cowboys still have some money to spend - and own two No. 1 picks - the offseason should get better and better as they try to finagle to get back into the playoffs.’
      • ‘The answer to the second question appears to be an analyst who is quoted heavily in the report and seems to be the only real source for the fact that Plame somehow finagled to get Wilson the trip.’
      • ‘So full of ego and brashness, Stu finagles his way around town, pumping up his clients and manipulating anyone who can get him one step further in life.’
      • ‘It doesn't take a genius to spot the teams that will finagle to get him.’
      • ‘Any attempt to finagle with the formula would have ruined the simplicity of its basic premise.’
      • ‘These are really things that researchers will set up and finagle on their own in the lab.’


1920s (originally U.S.): from dialect fainaigue cheat; perhaps from Old French fornier deny.