Definition of finger in English:


Pronunciation /ˈfiNGɡər/ /ˈfɪŋɡər/


  • 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’
    • ‘The hands may be broad with short fingers; the little finger may only have one joint instead of two and be slightly curved.’
    • ‘There was some movement in the hand especially the fingers, thumb and little finger.’
    • ‘Proceed with moving your ring finger and then your pinky finger toward your thumb.’
    • ‘In this test, you bend your thumb across the palm of your hand and bend your fingers down over your thumb.’
    • ‘The arthritis can affect any joints in the body, but generally it affects the most distant joints of the fingers and toes.’
    • ‘Typically the joints of the fingers and toes are affected, although the back, knees and hips may be too.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Common warts usually occur on your hands, fingers or near your fingernails.’
    • ‘I've instantly singed the hair from the upper joints of my fingers through misjudgment of these little details.’
    • ‘Avoid positions that push your other fingers toward your little finger.’
    • ‘As she approached I held up four fingers and raised my eyebrows questioningly.’
    • ‘To illustrate the point, he tapped the left pectoral region of his chest with four fingers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Call if your child has any injury that makes movement of his arms, legs, fingers, or toes difficult.’
    • ‘He presses his undamaged left hand with bent fingers and out-stretched thumb onto his chest in a gesture of adoration and self-dedication.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Looking back at Tim, he held out his left hand with four fingers up to indicate how many guards were there.’
    • ‘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. 1.1A 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.’
      • ‘She had black leather gloves on with the fingers cut off and black trousers.’
      • ‘In winter we wrap up in scarves and Steptoe-style gloves with the fingers cut out.’
      • ‘Take the gloves, cut off the fingers and push the glove over your wrist and onto your arm.’
      • ‘Sooner or later, I will have to buy some gloves and cut the fingers off so that I can keep typing.’
    2. 1.2A measure of liquor in a glass, based on the breadth of a finger.
      ‘he poured three fingers of vodka into a juice glass’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If you have 2 or more fingers of drink to allocate they can be distributed between more than one player.’
      dram, small measure, drink, nip, slug, drop, draught, swallow, swig
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    3. 1.3An object that has roughly the long, narrow shape of a finger.
      ‘a shortbread finger’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Serve with fingers of toasted sour dough Poilâne bread and thin sticks of crisp vegetables.’
      • ‘Serve with toasted fingers of ciabatta, but remember to bring it to room temperature before serving - fridge-cold pâté will not do.’
      • ‘Large fingers of kelp sway and beckon us out to sea.’
      • ‘Colonies of this bryozoan (Sea Chervil) look like wavy brown fingers of sponge.’
      strip, rectangle, sliver, streak, pencil
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transitive verb

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

    ‘the thin man fingered his mustache’
    • ‘I felt a hand touch my hair, fingering it and letting it drop, strand by strand.’
    • ‘Gently he fingered several curls that touched his shoulder.’
    • ‘He would finger each bag for a minute, touching and stroking, and then finally moving it into a larger plastic bag.’
    • ‘Søren followed her back into the main room, fingering the thin hair clip he had secured to the cuff of his shirt sleeve.’
    • ‘Velmon fingered his mustache and thought a moment.’
    • ‘With a ‘harumpf’ or two, the judge fingered his walrus type moustache and started to explain.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘She fingered the thin cloth covering her brother, opening her mouth to speak, and then quickly shutting it as if thinking better of it.’
    • ‘Coughing a little as her coffee caught in her throat, she lowered the mug and fingered its handle nervously.’
    • ‘Gently, Gabrielle fingered her cheek, but even at the lightest touch it hurt.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He fingers his thick gold chain as he pauses for a moment.’
    • ‘The boy and the dog relish the scamper, but the pedlar fingers his rosary to ward off the threat of a drenching.’
    • ‘Reaching out tentatively towards me, he fingered the pair of rings I always wore on a chain around my neck.’
    touch, feel, handle, manipulate, stroke, rub, caress, fondle, toy with, play with, play about with, play around with, fiddle with, twiddle with, maul, meddle with, manhandle, pull, grab
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    1. 1.1Play (a musical instrument) with the fingers, especially in a tentative or casual manner.
      ‘a woman fingered a lute’
      • ‘‘I must say, though,’ she said thoughtfully, fingering her violin.’
      • ‘A few days after that fateful jam session, Rocky was sitting at home, fingering his guitar to a tune only he knew.’
      • ‘Rowan could just picture her, her hands fingering the beautiful flute as her eyes scanned the sea.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘All this from a man who can finger a fretboard like nobody's business.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These rapidly became forays into entrapment of innocent people fingered by prison snitches trying to get their sentences reduced.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But going online and fingering him accomplishes nothing.’
    • ‘They have created their own surreal world where criminals are fingered before they commit crimes.’
    • ‘He escapes repeatedly, only to be gunned down after he's fingered by a woman friend.’
    • ‘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 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 was identified by name in a New York Times story on Monday, presumably because he was fingered by officials on Sunday.’
    • ‘Over the next month, he tried to find out who had fingered him and what he could do to get his own back.’
    inform, inform against, inform on, act as an informer, tell tales, tell tales on, sneak, sneak on, report, give away, be disloyal, be disloyal to, sell out, stab in the back
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    1. 2.1finger someone forIdentify 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
      View synonyms
  • 3Music
    Play (a passage) with a particular sequence of positions of the fingers.

    • ‘Timidly plucking a string, I fingered the lead guitar of ‘Smoke on the Water’.’
    • ‘The lower oboes are treated as transposing instruments, their parts written to be fingered like treble oboe parts.’
    • ‘Pianist Eddie Heywood deftly fingers the bridge on the last chorus.’
    • ‘The lead guitarist begins to finger an intricate melody, then turns around to face the audience, a spotlight on him.’
    • ‘Dick used the drum sticks to bang out the notes on the bass, with Tommy fingering the chords on the fret.’
    • ‘By now he was in a huddle with two locals, fingering silent chords while one of them played something softly on a penny whistle.’
    1. 3.1Mark (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.’


    be all fingers and thumbs
    • Be clumsy or awkward in one's actions.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Hands that saved penalties with ease were all fingers and thumbs at writing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I seemed to be all fingers and thumbs and dropped things right, left and centre.’
      • ‘Wigan were surprisingly all fingers and thumbs at times in their first home game of the new campaign.’
    get one's finger out
    British informal
    • Stop hesitating or wasting time and start to act.

    lay a finger on someone
    • Touch someone, especially with the intention of harming them.

      • ‘They'll say, lay a finger on me and you're straight in court.’
      • ‘‘They haven't laid a finger on me, yet,’ he smirked.’
      • ‘Even though I physically bundled people out the door on a number of occasions, nobody ever laid a finger on me.’
      • ‘I love you; call me if she ever lays a finger on you.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘You tell Danny that if he so much as lays a finger on you, I'll snap him in half like a twig.’
      • ‘The mere thought of that psychopath laying a finger on her at all made him cringe and shiver all over.’
      • ‘‘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.’’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘She had better not lay a finger on him or she'll have to deal with me!’
    give someone the finger
    North American informal
    • Make an obscene gesture with the middle finger raised as a sign of contempt, meaning 'fuck you.'.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The driver nodded, pointed as if to say, ‘Yes, you,’ then emphatically gave us the finger.’
      • ‘Yes, I was doing push-ups with one arm, all the while giving them the finger.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘Process this,’ I retort, giving him the finger.’
      • ‘I yelled over my shoulder, giving him the finger.’
      • ‘Dreyden shrugged brushed it off, politely 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.’
    have one's finger on the pulse
    • Be aware of all the latest news or developments.

      ‘she seems to have her finger on the pulse of what teenagers like’
      ‘he keeps his finger on the pulse of world music’
      • ‘Where are the exciting developments, and who has their finger on the pulse?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At one time, I had this reputation for having my finger on the pulse, of knowing what people wanted.’
      • ‘Between them they have their finger on the pulse of contemporary customers.’
      • ‘We are going to talk about it with two sports hosts who have their finger on the pulse of the fans.’
      • ‘I much prefer to have my finger on the pulse and know what's going on.’
      • ‘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.’
    have a finger in every pie
    • Be involved in a large and varied number of activities or enterprises.

      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘They have a finger in every pie, from Columbian drug lords to Caucasian oilfields to the jungles of the Philippines.’
      • ‘Indian Americans seem to have a finger in every pie, from Mars to Mass Transit.’
      • ‘He has a finger in every pie - dance, karathe, spiral sword, origami, mimicry, silambam, painting and acting.’
      • ‘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 had a finger in every pie in their former colony and their atomic energy commission controlled the country's mines.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His thumbprint is everywhere; he had a finger in every pie.’
    put one's finger on something
    • Identify something exactly.

      ‘he cannot put his finger on what has gone wrong’
      • ‘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 can't put your finger on it, but there's something special about the place.’
      • ‘Thanks, Jack, I think you've put your finger on it.’
      • ‘You start to figure out all the characters have some sort of connection but you can't put your finger on it.’
      • ‘‘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 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.’
      • ‘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.’
    snap one's fingers
    • Make a sharp clicking sound by bending the last joint of the middle finger against the thumb and suddenly releasing it, typically in order to attract attention in a peremptory way or to accompany the beat of music.

    keep one's fingers crossed

    See finger

    see cross


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



/ˈfiNGɡər/ /ˈfɪŋɡər/