black thumb


Definition of black thumb


  1. :  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


\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 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

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Circa 1954

First Known Use of black thumb

circa 1954

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up black thumb? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


feeling or affected by lethargy

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