black thumb


Definition of black thumb

: a notable inability to make plants grow : a tendency to fail as a gardener Ever since I was a child, I was known for a really bad black thumb—I could not grow anything, and even worse, plants seemed to die under my supervision, even the plastic kind.— Monica Bhide, Chicago Sun-Times, 13 Apr. 2011 In addition, I have a black thumb that can kill a petunia at 10 paces.— Rob Pudim, Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Sept. 2009 also : a person who has a black thumb Calling all black thumbs and those who are averse to flower arranging: Hardy succulents are the perfect solution for anyone who can't remember to water plants or who struggles to pull together a centerpiece. Good Housekeeping, 1 Sept. 2010 Even black thumbs will have a hard time killing plants in this self-watering pot. — Wendy Manwarren, Redbook, 1 June 2009 — compare green thumb

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Other Words from black thumb

black-thumbed \ ˈblak-​ˈthəmd \ adjective
Even a black-thumbed buddy can tend voluptuous tuberous begonias, which are happy in a less-than-light-filled home, or cultivate highly textured scented geraniums … — Laura Kalehoff, Self, February 2008 The terrarium is ideal for the black-thumbed gardener who kills anything green. — Mary-Liz Shaw, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 28 Jan. 2007

First Known Use of black thumb

circa 1954, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for black thumb

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The first known use of black thumb was circa 1954

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Dictionary Entries Near black thumb

black-throated green warbler

black thumb


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Cite this Entry

“Black thumb.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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