black thumb

noun

Definition of black thumb

US
: 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 BhideChicago Sun-Times13 Apr. 2011
  • In addition, I have a black thumb that can kill a petunia at 10 paces.
  • —Rob PudimSalt Lake Tribune11 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 Housekeeping1 Sept. 2010
  • Even black thumbs will have a hard time killing plants in this self-watering pot.
  • —Wendy ManwarrenRedbook1 June 2009
— compare green thumb

black-thumbed

\ˈblak-ˈthəmd\
    • 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 KalehoffSelfFebruary 2008
    • The terrarium is ideal for the black-thumbed gardener who kills anything green.
    • —Mary-Liz ShawMilwaukee Journal Sentinel28 Jan. 2007

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First Known Use of black thumb

circa 1954


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