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any of the terminal members of the hand, especially one other than the thumb.
a part of a glove made to receive a finger.
the breadth of a finger as a unit of measurement; digit.
the length of a finger: approximately 4½ inches (11 cm).
Slang. an informer or spy.
something like a finger in form or use, as a projection or pointer:
a finger of land leading out into the bay; the finger on the speedometer.
any of various projecting parts of machines.
to touch with the fingers; toy or meddle with; handle.
to touch with the fingers so as to mar or spoil:
Please don’t finger the vegetables.
to pilfer; filch.

to play on (an instrument) with the fingers.
to perform or mark (a passage of music) with a certain fingering.


to inform against or identify (a criminal) to the authorities:
He fingered the man who robbed the bank.
to designate as a victim, as of murder or other crime.

to touch or handle something with the fingers.
to extend in or as in the shape of a finger:
Landing piers finger out into the river along the city’s shoreline.
burn one’s fingers, to suffer injury or loss by meddling or by acting rashly:
If you get involved in the controversy, you may burn your fingers.
give (someone) the finger, Slang. to express contempt for by or as by the obscene gesture of pointing the middle finger upward while folding the other fingers against the palm.
have a finger in the pie,

to have an interest or share in something.
to meddle in something.

keep one’s fingers crossed, to wish for good luck or success, as in a specific endeavor:
Keep your fingers crossed that I get the job.
lay / put one’s finger on,

to indicate exactly; remember:
I know the name, but I can’t put my finger on it.
to discover; locate:
I haven’t been able to lay my finger on the book you requested.

not lift a finger, to make not even a small attempt; do nothing:
The house was falling into ruin, but he wouldn’t lift a finger to repair it.
put the finger on, Slang. finger (def 12).
slip through one’s fingers,

to elude one, as an opportunity not taken; escape:
She let the chance of a lifetime slip through her fingers.
to pass or be consumed quickly:
Money just slips through his fingers.

snap one’s fingers (at), to exhibit disdain or contempt (for):
She snaps her fingers at the local gossip.
twist / wrap around one’s little finger, to exert one’s influence easily or successfully upon:
He has a remarkable talent for twisting people around his little finger.
Contemporary Examples

Defending a Bomb-Thrower Matthew Yglesias November 1, 2009
‘Kick-Ass 2’ Star Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s Favorite Movie Villains Christopher Mintz-Plasse August 14, 2013
Return of the Bunny Boiler: Fatal Attraction’s World Stage Premiere Nico Hines March 25, 2014
Democratic Trainwreck Lloyd Grove, Benjamin Sarlin March 7, 2010
The Chuck Hagel Witch-Hunt Ali Gharib February 6, 2013

Historical Examples

Common Science Carleton W. Washburne
Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
Tarrano the Conqueror Raymond King Cummings
The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
Explorers of the Dawn Mazo de la Roche


any of the digits of the hand, often excluding the thumb Technical name digitus manus
(as modifier): a finger bowl
(in combination): a fingernail, related adjective digital

the part of a glove made to cover a finger
something that resembles a finger in shape or function: a finger of land
Also called digit. the length or width of a finger used as a unit of measurement
a quantity of liquid in a glass, etc, as deep as a finger is wide; tot
a projecting machine part, esp one serving as an indicator, guide, or guard
burn one’s fingers, to suffer from having meddled or been rash
(Brit, informal) get one’s finger out, pull one’s finger out, to begin or speed up activity, esp after initial delay or slackness
have a finger in the pie, have one’s finger in the pie

to have an interest in or take part in some activity
to meddle or interfere

(usually negative) lay a finger on, to harm
lay one’s finger on, put one’s finger on, to indicate, identify, or locate accurately
let slip through one’s fingers, to allow to escape; miss narrowly
(foll by an infinitive) not lift a finger, not raise a finger, not to make any effort (to do something)
point the finger at, to accuse or blame
(informal) put the finger on

to inform on or identify, esp for the police
to choose (the victim or location of an intended crime)

twist around one’s little finger, wrap around one’s little finger, to have easy and complete control or influence over
(transitive) to touch or manipulate with the fingers; handle
(transitive) (informal, mainly US) to identify as a criminal or suspect
(intransitive) to extend like a finger
to use one’s fingers in playing (an instrument, such as a piano or clarinet)
to indicate on (a composition or part) the fingering required by a pianist, harpsichordist, etc
(transitive; usually passive) to arrange the keys of (a clarinet, flute, etc) for playing in a certain way

A police informer; stool pigeon (1930s+ Underworld)
A person who tells thieves about potential loot (1920s+ Underworld)
About a half-inch of liquor in a glass: Maybe I’d better have another finger of the hooch (1856+)

To locate and point out someone: You’re the guy that fingered Manny Tinnen/ artificially heightening the tale’s drama (by fingering the sponsor) (1920s+ Underworld)
To tell thieves about the location, value, etc, of potential loot: I fingered the robberies (1920s+ Underworld)
To insert a finger into the vulva; fingerfuck: With one hand Larry was fingering me (1970s+)

In addition to the idiom beginning with


Read Also:

  • Burn-in

    to undergo rapid combustion or consume fuel in such a way as to give off heat, gases, and, usually, light; be on fire: The fire burned in the grate. (of a fireplace, furnace, etc.) to contain a fire. to feel heat or a physiologically similar sensation; feel pain from or as if from a fire: […]

  • Burn-in-effigy

    see: in effigy

  • Burn-into

    Make an indelible impression on, as in An event like the Holocaust burns into the minds of all the survivors, or The scene was burned into her memory. This expression alludes to such processes as etching or engraving, where a caustic substance bites into a solid plate to make a design. [ Early 1800s ]

  • Burn-one

    burn one

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