fi·​na·​gle | \ fə-ˈnā-gəl How to pronounce finagle (audio) \
finagled; finagling\ fə-​ˈnā-​g(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce finagling (audio) \

Definition of finagle

transitive verb

1 : to obtain by indirect or involved means finagle a ride home
2 : to obtain by trickery finagled his way into the concert

intransitive verb

: to use devious or dishonest methods to achieve one's ends

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from finagle

finagler \ fə-​ˈnā-​g(ə-​)lər How to pronounce finagler (audio) \ noun

Examples of finagle in a Sentence

A con man finagled my neighbor out of four hundred dollars. let me look at my schedule and see if I can't finagle a visit to the museum
Recent Examples on the Web As for the settings on your camera, there are a number of things to finagle for Milky Way photos. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Amateur's Guide to Astrophotography," 9 Dec. 2019 The Browns, meanwhile, have won two games in a row and are trying to finagle their way back into the playoff picture. Dan Labbe, cleveland, "Cleveland Browns vs. Miami Dolphins: Preview and predictions," 22 Nov. 2019 Before long, the siblings finagle their father a job as the Parks' chauffeur, and their mom manages to get hired as housekeeper. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, "Making of 'Parasite': How Bong Joon Ho's Real Life Inspired a Plot-Twisty Tale of Rich vs. Poor," 8 Nov. 2019 Both men, nevertheless, have finagled their way into the upper levels of American power. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "An All-American Campaign Finance Scandal," 11 Oct. 2019 Two old-school, unemployed salesmen finagle internships at Google, then must compete with younger, smarter candidates for prime positions. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV for Oct. 6-12: ‘Throne of Blood’ and more," 4 Oct. 2019 Reservations aren’t offered, but spots at the bar are plentiful, and the summer outdoor area makes tables easy to finagle. Alexandra Hall,, "Portland restaurants you can actually get into," 15 July 2019 Receiver Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi, who had to finagle his way into a look from the Browns? Mary Kay Cabot,, "Which Browns rookies will be among the training camp surprises? (video)," 8 July 2019 Rather than devoting all of their energies to finagling the algorithm, many creators rely on each other. Shaan Amin, The New Republic, "Can the Left Win YouTube?," 2 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'finagle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of finagle

circa 1924, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for finagle

perhaps alteration of fainaigue to renege

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about finagle

Time Traveler for finagle

Time Traveler

The first known use of finagle was circa 1924

See more words from the same year

Statistics for finagle

Last Updated

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Finagle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for finagle


How to pronounce finagle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of finagle

: to get (something) in a clever or dishonest way
: to trick (someone) in order to get something

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on finagle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for finagle

Spanish Central: Translation of finagle

Nglish: Translation of finagle for Spanish Speakers

Comments on finagle

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

February 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of probity?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!