variants: or dead-men's-fingers

Definition of dead-man's-fingers 

1 : any of several European orchids (genus Orchis) having pale digitate roots (especially O. mascula, O. maculata, O. latifolia, and O. morio)

2 : any of several other plants: such as

a : bird's-foot trefoil sense 1a

b : cuckoopint

c : meadow foxtail grass

3 : the fruiting bodies of fungi of the genus Xylaria (especially X. polymorpha)

4a : a fleshy alcyonarian (Alcyonium digitatum) usually lobed or digitate in form

b : a white or grayish digitately branching sponge (Chalina arbuscula) of the Atlantic coast

5 : dead man

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Learn More about dead-man's-fingers

Share dead-man's-fingers

Statistics for dead-man's-fingers

Look-up Popularity

Comments on dead-man's-fingers

What made you want to look up dead-man's-fingers? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!