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

transitive verb

: to obtain (something) by indirect or involved means
finagle a ride home
: to obtain (something) by trickery
He finagled his way into the concert.

intransitive verb

: to use devious or dishonest methods to achieve one's ends
I have long craved a convention where someone had to wheel and deal, … maneuver and finagle, to win the crown. Mark Plotkin
finagler noun

Example Sentences

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 The company is expected to file for bankruptcy or possibly finagle a long-shot arrangement to get acquired by a traditional investment firm like Blackrock. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, 21 Nov. 2022 That’s a terribly inconvenient place for an outlet, leaving you with an eternity of scooching one end of the couch away from the wall to finagle a plug. Eric Ravenscraft, WIRED, 25 Sep. 2022 But parents who use apps to excessively finagle their face, hips or waist send the wrong message to children. David Oliver, USA TODAY, 7 Oct. 2022 Bouchard’s script, co-written with Jim Dauterive and Nora Smith, isn’t going to bend the characters’ reality and finagle an excuse to send them to Paris, or even Wally World. Amy Nicholson, Variety, 23 May 2022 The buttons also tend to be larger and easier to finagle with gloves on. Mike Richard, Men's Health, 6 May 2022 The critic, who had managed to finagle his way into the Oliviers’ lives despite his harsh critiques, later recalled lying in a guest bed at Notley, the couple’s country home, trying to take a nap, when Vivien entered his room. Stephen Galloway, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Mar. 2022 Sherman hopes to finagle a new, downtown stadium himself, even if locals are perfectly satisfied with Kauffman Stadium. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, 8 Mar. 2022 Is Mara trying to finagle her own after-hours one-on-one date? Kristen Baldwin,, 15 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


perhaps alteration of fainaigue to renege

First Known Use

circa 1924, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of finagle was circa 1924

Dictionary Entries Near finagle

Cite this Entry

“Finagle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



fi·​na·​gle fə-ˈnā-gəl How to pronounce finagle (audio)
finagled; finagling -g(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce finagle (audio)
: to use trickery to get what one wants
finagler noun

More from Merriam-Webster on finagle

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