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 Maybe the Cardinals can finagle a way to replace Peters’ production after the ball is snapped. Kent Somers, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona Cardinals will miss Corey Peters' calming voice, commanding presence," 17 Nov. 2020 Or Katie Blackburn, who, as executive vice president of the Cincinnati Bengals, knows how to finagle the NFL’s salary cap as well as anyone. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: 'If you see it, you can be it.' Kim Ng's hiring as Marlins GM opens endless possibilities," 13 Nov. 2020 Despite the usual open avenue following a blocked kick, the redshirt freshman had to finagle his way through a few Hilltoppers before leaping into the end zone. Evan Dudley, al, "Blocked punt return powers UAB to 37-14 win over Western Kentucky," 17 Oct. 2020 Any attempt by Trump and the Republicans to reverse the election results and finagle their way to victory would likely escalate into a constitutional crisis. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Donald Trump Is Attacking American Democracy at Its Core," 23 Sep. 2020 The result prompted social media wonderment at how the Vikings managed to finagle another top-dollar contract into a tenuous cap situation, and triggered popular memes about how the NFL salary cap is a myth. Ben Goessling, Star Tribune, "How are the Vikings paying for all this? With creativity and audacity," 18 Sep. 2020 Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that the Saints were working with a team (believed to be the Cleveland Browns but not confirmed) in an effort to finagle their salary cap hit. Amie Just | Staff Writer,, "NFL reportedly nixes Saints' creative plan to acquire DE Jadeveon Clowney," 6 Sep. 2020 Properties seized, finagled, extorted, or paid for with cold, hard cash remain American in perpetuity. Andrew J. Bacevich, Harper's Magazine, "The Old Normal," 27 Apr. 2020 The mega-wealthy, after all, immediately finagled access to coronavirus testing while populations at greater risk of infection continue to wait for a testing infrastructure beyond its current threadbare state to be spun up. Libby Watson, The New Republic, "It Will Be Needlessly Hard to Get a Coronavirus Vaccination in the U.S.," 13 May 2020

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

1 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Finagle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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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

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Nglish: Translation of finagle for Spanish Speakers

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