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

Definition of finagle

transitive verb

1 : to obtain (something) by indirect or involved means finagle a ride home
2 : 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

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Other Words from finagle

finagler \ fə-​ˈnā-​g(ə-​)lər How to pronounce finagle (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 Shooting in Manhattan can be notoriously difficult, but Malin was able to finagle permission to shoot at must-see locations like Rockefeller Center and The Plaza Hotel in addition to Bergdorf's and Central Park. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, 6 Oct. 2021 As professional designers, firms can typically finagle a 15% (or even more) discount on furniture and accessories. Kathryn O'shea-evans, House Beautiful, 23 Sep. 2021 As professional designers, firms can typically finagle a 15% (or even more) discount on furniture and accessories. Kathryn O'shea-evans, House Beautiful, 23 Sep. 2021 He's forced to mix and match a crew of relievers to finagle his way through nine innings. Dana Gauruder, Detroit Free Press, 11 July 2021 Younger people with means could apply for a student visa, and those who could finagle a job offer could apply for a work visa, but that still left plenty of young protesters without the money or connections to qualify for these categories. New York Times, 6 Aug. 2021 By the time Burke could finagle special permission for a phone conversation, her son had spent nearly a week contemplating metastatic cancer alone. STAT, 14 Apr. 2021 Ramona shows Destiny how to finagle her way around the Wall Street clientele who frequent their strip club. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, 9 Apr. 2021 The operation so far has netted about 30 carp over the first few days of the operation, enough to establish that the fish have been able to finagle their way this far north, putting other fish and organisms in danger. Laura Schulte, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 Apr. 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for finagle

Time Traveler

The first known use of finagle was circa 1924

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Statistics for finagle

Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Finagle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for finagle



English Language Learners Definition of finagle

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

More from Merriam-Webster on finagle

Nglish: Translation of finagle for Spanish Speakers


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