Definition of finger in English:

finger

noun

  • 1Each of the four slender jointed parts attached to either hand (or five, if the thumb is included)

    ‘she raked her hair back with her fingers’
    • ‘This painless device shines a reddish glowing light from a sensor attached to a finger or toe and determines how much oxygen is in the blood.’
    • ‘Call if your child has any injury that makes movement of his arms, legs, fingers, or toes difficult.’
    • ‘As she approached I held up four fingers and raised my eyebrows questioningly.’
    • ‘Typically the joints of the fingers and toes are affected, although the back, knees and hips may be too.’
    • ‘The arthritis can affect any joints in the body, but generally it affects the most distant joints of the fingers and toes.’
    • ‘I've instantly singed the hair from the upper joints of my fingers through misjudgment of these little details.’
    • ‘For one to two weeks after that, you'll be able to move the top two joints on your fingers, but your knuckles must remain still.’
    • ‘Looking back at Tim, he held out his left hand with four fingers up to indicate how many guards were there.’
    • ‘Avoid positions that push your other fingers toward your little finger.’
    • ‘In this test, you bend your thumb across the palm of your hand and bend your fingers down over your thumb.’
    • ‘Proceed with moving your ring finger and then your pinky finger toward your thumb.’
    • ‘The money was used to buy a pulse oximeter, a hand-held piece of equipment which is attached to an ear lobe or finger and checks lung function quickly and easily.’
    • ‘He presses his undamaged left hand with bent fingers and out-stretched thumb onto his chest in a gesture of adoration and self-dedication.’
    • ‘Keep the ball in the inside of your hand, go through and squeeze the ball with your fingers from little finger through to the thumb and back.’
    • ‘There was some movement in the hand especially the fingers, thumb and little finger.’
    • ‘The hands may be broad with short fingers; the little finger may only have one joint instead of two and be slightly curved.’
    • ‘Common warts usually occur on your hands, fingers or near your fingernails.’
    • ‘To illustrate the point, he tapped the left pectoral region of his chest with four fingers.’
    • ‘It is normal for children to suck their thumbs, their fingers or pacifiers.’
    • ‘As a young boy I had an accident that resulted in the loss of four fingers on my right hand and three on my left hand.’
    1. 1.1 A part of a glove intended to cover a finger.
      • ‘She was wearing blue calf-length jeans with her stomach exposed and gloves with various coloured fingers.’
      • ‘In winter we wrap up in scarves and Steptoe-style gloves with the fingers cut out.’
      • ‘She had black leather gloves on with the fingers cut off and black trousers.’
      • ‘Sooner or later, I will have to buy some gloves and cut the fingers off so that I can keep typing.’
      • ‘Take the gloves, cut off the fingers and push the glove over your wrist and onto your arm.’
    2. 1.2 A measure of liquor in a glass, based on the breadth of a finger.
      ‘he poured three fingers of vodka into a juice glass’
      • ‘If you have 2 or more fingers of drink to allocate they can be distributed between more than one player.’
      • ‘I dropped ice into the largest glass I could find and poured out about eight fingers of the sweet liquid.’
      • ‘He leaned forward, carefully removed the ice from a glass set before him and them motioned to the waiter to pour in precisely three fingers of Pastis.’
      dram, small measure, drink, nip, slug, drop, draught, swallow, swig
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    3. 1.3 An object that has roughly the long, narrow shape of a finger.
      ‘a shortbread finger’
      • ‘Serve with toasted fingers of ciabatta, but remember to bring it to room temperature before serving - fridge-cold pâté will not do.’
      • ‘Colonies of this bryozoan (Sea Chervil) look like wavy brown fingers of sponge.’
      • ‘Serve with fingers of toasted sour dough Poilâne bread and thin sticks of crisp vegetables.’
      • ‘Large fingers of kelp sway and beckon us out to sea.’
      • ‘Individually moulded fingers of sushi rice seemed too formal, so I spread the rice in a thick layer over the banana leaf, and laid generous slices of tuna over it.’
      strip, rectangle, sliver, streak, pencil
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verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Touch or feel (something) with the fingers.

    ‘the thin man fingered his mustache’
    • ‘I stared at the bible she had laid on my lap and I fingered the worn edges, touched that she had given me her first bible.’
    • ‘Gently, Gabrielle fingered her cheek, but even at the lightest touch it hurt.’
    • ‘With a ‘harumpf’ or two, the judge fingered his walrus type moustache and started to explain.’
    • ‘He fingers his thick gold chain as he pauses for a moment.’
    • ‘She fingered the thin cloth covering her brother, opening her mouth to speak, and then quickly shutting it as if thinking better of it.’
    • ‘He would finger each bag for a minute, touching and stroking, and then finally moving it into a larger plastic bag.’
    • ‘Velmon fingered his mustache and thought a moment.’
    • ‘Reaching out tentatively towards me, he fingered the pair of rings I always wore on a chain around my neck.’
    • ‘I felt a hand touch my hair, fingering it and letting it drop, strand by strand.’
    • ‘‘Your mom hates me,’ Jimmy said skeptically and fingered the door handle of my car, while remaining tense.’
    • ‘He grabbed my hand and fingered the ring he had given me.’
    • ‘The boy and the dog relish the scamper, but the pedlar fingers his rosary to ward off the threat of a drenching.’
    • ‘Some of them were fiddling with the ball, while others fingered the handle of the bat, and others just sat with their feet against the gate before them with a tense look on their faces.’
    • ‘Coughing a little as her coffee caught in her throat, she lowered the mug and fingered its handle nervously.’
    • ‘Søren followed her back into the main room, fingering the thin hair clip he had secured to the cuff of his shirt sleeve.’
    • ‘Gently he fingered several curls that touched his shoulder.’
    touch, feel, handle, manipulate, stroke, rub, caress, fondle, toy with, play, play about with, play around with, fiddle with, twiddle with, maul, meddle with, manhandle, pull, grab
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    1. 1.1 Play (a musical instrument) with the fingers, especially in a tentative or casual manner.
      ‘a woman fingered a lute’
      • ‘All this from a man who can finger a fretboard like nobody's business.’
      • ‘It's easy to imagine this sort of music being played by a brace of competent but anonymous session musicians with beards and ponytails stroking saxophones and fingering fretless bass guitars.’
      • ‘Rowan could just picture her, her hands fingering the beautiful flute as her eyes scanned the sea.’
      • ‘A few days after that fateful jam session, Rocky was sitting at home, fingering his guitar to a tune only he knew.’
      • ‘‘I must say, though,’ she said thoughtfully, fingering her violin.’
  • 2North American informal Inform on (someone) to the police.

    ‘you fingered me for those burglaries’
    • ‘He was uncovered after his employers fingered him to police over the affair.’
    • ‘These rapidly became forays into entrapment of innocent people fingered by prison snitches trying to get their sentences reduced.’
    • ‘Well, at the end, those people, the prisoners will be able to finger the people who tortured them or badly treated them.’
    • ‘You risk fingering some guy who's your neighbor and a potential advertiser and subscriber.’
    • ‘Yen knew without a doubt that even if the squeaky clean Don had something to do with it, they'd never be able to finger him.’
    • ‘But that doesn't mean defense attorneys and reformers should resign themselves to a conviction every time a client is fingered by a victim's last words.’
    • ‘But again, if the best that the state can do in this case is cite statistics as their basis for fingering him with this crime, it will be a good day for the defense.’
    • ‘The rationale for such state rules is that an accomplice has little incentive to testify truthfully, especially if he can cut a deal by fingering someone else.’
    • ‘In his statement, is he essentially accusing the doctor of fingering him?’
    • ‘He escapes repeatedly, only to be gunned down after he's fingered by a woman friend.’
    • ‘Over the next month, he tried to find out who had fingered him and what he could do to get his own back.’
    • ‘He was identified by name in a New York Times story on Monday, presumably because he was fingered by officials on Sunday.’
    • ‘They say reporting suspected illegals over the Web will result in people being mistakenly fingered, or let people with a grudge turn in innocent victims.’
    • ‘But going online and fingering him accomplishes nothing.’
    • ‘They have created their own surreal world where criminals are fingered before they commit crimes.’
    1. 2.1finger someone for Identify or choose someone for (a particular purpose)
      ‘a research biologist with impeccable credentials was fingered for team leader’
      • ‘No one wants to be fingered as the person that does it.’
      identify, recognize, single out, pick out, spot, choose, select, point out
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  • 3Music
    Play (a passage) with a particular sequence of positions of the fingers.

    See also fingering
    • ‘By now he was in a huddle with two locals, fingering silent chords while one of them played something softly on a penny whistle.’
    • ‘The lower oboes are treated as transposing instruments, their parts written to be fingered like treble oboe parts.’
    • ‘The lead guitarist begins to finger an intricate melody, then turns around to face the audience, a spotlight on him.’
    • ‘Timidly plucking a string, I fingered the lead guitar of ‘Smoke on the Water’.’
    • ‘Pianist Eddie Heywood deftly fingers the bridge on the last chorus.’
    • ‘Dick used the drum sticks to bang out the notes on the bass, with Tommy fingering the chords on the fret.’
    1. 3.1 Mark (music) with signs showing which fingers are to be used.
      • ‘The majority of these pieces, the Twelve Impressions, were fingered and edited by Kreisler, to whom the pieces were dedicated.’
      • ‘Other pianists cringed when I shared Nagy's fingering suggestions for splitting a difficult passage between two hands.’

Phrases

  • be all fingers and thumbs

    • informal Be clumsy or awkward in one's actions.

      • ‘Hands that saved penalties with ease were all fingers and thumbs at writing.’
      • ‘I seemed to be all fingers and thumbs and dropped things right, left and centre.’
      • ‘We've didn't want another flip phone because when it rings we're all fingers and thumbs and can't get it open quick enough after spending ages trying to get it out of the handbag.’
      • ‘Wigan were surprisingly all fingers and thumbs at times in their first home game of the new campaign.’
      • ‘Scooping up the warm rice and hot pickle by hand feels natural enough till it gets to my mouth; then I am all fingers and thumbs, bits of curry-stained rice dropping into my lap, and still so obviously, embarrassingly, a tourist.’
      clumsy, awkward, maladroit, inept, bungling, bumbling, incompetent, unskilful, heavy-handed, ungainly, inelegant, inexpert, graceless, ungraceful, gauche, unhandy, uncoordinated, gawky, cloddish, clodhopping
      butterfingered, cack-handed, ham-fisted, ham-handed
      all fingers and thumbs
      View synonyms
  • give someone the finger

    • informal Make an obscene gesture with the middle finger raised as a sign of contempt, meaning 'fuck you.'

      • ‘I called giving Travis the finger before I closed the door.’
      • ‘I glanced over my shoulder to see him still standing there, his face entirely straight, yet at the same time calmly giving me the finger.’
      • ‘I raised a hand and gave him the finger before walking towards the school building.’
      • ‘He was going to junior high school, and he'd always walk in front of my house and give me the finger.’
      • ‘I yelled over my shoulder, giving him the finger.’
      • ‘‘Process this,’ I retort, giving him the finger.’
      • ‘I responded by giving him the finger, before collapsing on my bed once more and drawing the blankets on top of me.’
      • ‘Yes, I was doing push-ups with one arm, all the while giving them the finger.’
      • ‘The driver nodded, pointed as if to say, ‘Yes, you,’ then emphatically gave us the finger.’
      • ‘Dreyden shrugged brushed it off, politely giving him the finger.’
  • have a finger in every pie

    • Be involved in a large and varied number of activities or enterprises.

      • ‘He has a finger in every pie - dance, karathe, spiral sword, origami, mimicry, silambam, painting and acting.’
      • ‘His thumbprint is everywhere; he had a finger in every pie.’
      • ‘His daughter-in-law explained: ‘Chris was a real live wire and had a finger in every pie.’’
      • ‘This may have been true in the days of the licence-permit raj, when the government had a finger in every pie.’
      • ‘They have a finger in every pie, from Columbian drug lords to Caucasian oilfields to the jungles of the Philippines.’
      • ‘But Nicholas, despite an almost maniacal attachment to the idea of duty and zeal, was only human; he insisted on having a finger in every pie but had only ten fingers like everybody else.’
      • ‘I know you have a finger in every pie, my friend.’
      • ‘He said: ‘It has been characteristic of the company as long as anyone can remember that it has had to have a finger in every pie.’’
      • ‘Indian Americans seem to have a finger in every pie, from Mars to Mass Transit.’
      • ‘They had a finger in every pie in their former colony and their atomic energy commission controlled the country's mines.’
  • have (or keep) one's finger on the pulse

    • Be aware of all the latest news or developments.

      ‘he keeps his finger on the pulse of world music’
      • ‘We continue to keep our finger on the pulse regarding a quality and diverse range of programming which meets the needs of the vast majority of listeners and this has been proven by our ever increasing listenership results.’
      • ‘I much prefer to have my finger on the pulse and know what's going on.’
      • ‘Where are the exciting developments, and who has their finger on the pulse?’
      • ‘Between them they have their finger on the pulse of contemporary customers.’
      • ‘Now that I've been out of Britain for nearly 4 years, my view of the politics there has become somewhat two-dimensional and I no longer feel I have my finger on the pulse of daily life.’
      • ‘And I also think that Jeff Zuker, our executive producer, is really brilliant and quite good at sort of predicting or keeping his finger on the pulse and figuring out what is going to be interesting - what's going to be hot.’
      • ‘It is his way of keeping his finger on the pulse, and directors are encouraged to speak freely.’
      • ‘Over 265 million is traded daily on the Irish Stock Exchange's equities market and there are many investors out there who want to keep their finger on the pulse regarding share performance and potential deals.’
      • ‘At one time, I had this reputation for having my finger on the pulse, of knowing what people wanted.’
      • ‘We are going to talk about it with two sports hosts who have their finger on the pulse of the fans.’
  • keep one's fingers crossed

  • lay a finger on someone

    • Touch someone, especially with the intention of harming them.

      • ‘Even though I physically bundled people out the door on a number of occasions, nobody ever laid a finger on me.’
      • ‘They'll say, lay a finger on me and you're straight in court.’
      • ‘You tell Danny that if he so much as lays a finger on you, I'll snap him in half like a twig.’
      • ‘Rich continued, ‘And thirdly, you're a pretty girl, if one of these boys so much lays a finger on you without your consent they will have hell to pay.’’
      • ‘She had better not lay a finger on him or she'll have to deal with me!’
      • ‘‘They wouldn't dare lay a finger on you in Higgins's yard,’ Conall assured her, practically reading her mind, ‘I, on the other hand would be in serious trouble.’’
      • ‘‘They haven't laid a finger on me, yet,’ he smirked.’
      • ‘The mere thought of that psychopath laying a finger on her at all made him cringe and shiver all over.’
      • ‘I love you; call me if she ever lays a finger on you.’
      • ‘Smiling shyly, I said, ‘Even if you were to attack, Chesare would have you by the throat before you could lay a finger on me.’’
  • lift a finger

  • put one's finger on something

    • Identify something exactly.

      ‘he cannot put his finger on what has gone wrong’
      • ‘They were a very accomplished stage presence which played well, the music was good, but it lacked a certain something, I can't quite put my finger on it.’
      • ‘The funny thing was I kind of walked past her, and slowed down, because I thought I recognised her as someone I knew, but couldn't quite put my finger on it.’
      • ‘You can't put your finger on it, but there's something special about the place.’
      • ‘‘All across the political spectrum,’ says Fred Siegel, a history professor, ‘there is just an uneasiness, a sense that something is happening, though people can't put their finger on it.’’
      • ‘Sometimes we can feel we've bitten off more than we can chew… we feel trapped… it's like there's something right there, but we can't quite put our finger on it.’
      • ‘I think they're putting their finger on it because it shows how important personnel really are.’
      • ‘Howard, I think you've put your finger on something.’
      • ‘You start to figure out all the characters have some sort of connection but you can't put your finger on it.’
      • ‘I guess in a way that's why I'm finding it a bit of a challenge as to what to do next, because I really want to do something that's a bit different, and I can't quite put my finger on it yet.’
      • ‘Thanks, Jack, I think you've put your finger on it.’
  • twist (or wind or wrap) someone around one's little finger

  • work one's fingers to the bone

    • Work very hard.

      ‘Tracy can work her fingers to the bone, but it's Ms. Green who gets the thanks’
      • ‘I work my fingers to the bone, and get precious little gratitude for it, and all you can do is treat me like some glorified gofer who's wet behind the ears?’
      • ‘We are working our fingers to the bone to try and rescue our comrades, but at the moment we have yet to locate where their screams were coming from.’
      • ‘I've worked my fingers to the bone, cleaning, organizing and even releasing to the trash bin things I no longer need.’
      • ‘The man she had hated so was the man she worked her fingers to the bone to save.’
      • ‘In India, some kids are forced to toil in cotton fields while others work their fingers to the bone weaving silk.’
      • ‘‘We lived in a tiny little flat, and had no money, and my mother had to work her fingers to the bone,’ Carol says.’
      • ‘There are people working their fingers to the bone every day for less than this proposed salary.’
      • ‘His mom, who is kind and good and true, works her fingers to the bone, running the inn.’
      • ‘It was just the 5th movement that had lately been keeping her up all night, working her fingers to the bone.’
      • ‘She makes her grandson Shiro work his fingers to the bone to keep this place in top shape, and then tricks the neighborhood kids into doing the rest.’
      work hard, labour, work one's fingers to the bone, work like a trojan, work like a dog, work day and night, exert oneself, keep at it, keep one's nose to the grindstone, grind away, slave away, grub away, plough away, plod away
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Origin

Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vinger and German Finger.

Pronunciation:

finger

/ˈfiNGɡər/