fin·​ger | \ ˈfiŋ-gər How to pronounce finger (audio) \

Definition of finger

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of the five terminating members of the hand : a digit of the forelimb especially : one other than the thumb
2a : something that resembles a finger a narrow finger of land
b : a part of a glove into which a finger is inserted
c : a projecting piece (such as a pawl for a ratchet) brought into contact with an object to affect its motion
3 : the breadth of a finger
4 : interest, share often used in the phrase have a finger in the pie
5 : bird sense 10 usually used with the


fingered; fingering\ ˈfiŋ-​g(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce finger (audio) \

Definition of finger (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to touch or feel with the fingers
2a : to play (a musical instrument) with the fingers
b : to play (notes, chords, etc.) with a specific fingering
c : to mark the notes of (a music score) as a guide in playing
3 : to point out : identify
4 : to extend into or penetrate in the shape of a finger

intransitive verb

1 : to touch or handle something
2a : to use the fingers in playing a musical instrument
b : to have a certain fingering used of a musical instrument
3 : to extend in the shape or manner of a finger

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Other Words from finger


fingerlike \ ˈfiŋ-​gər-​ˌlīk How to pronounce finger (audio) \ adjective

Examples of finger in a Sentence

Noun Don't stick your fingers in the cookie batter! He slipped the ring onto her finger. The baby held onto my thumb with her tiny fingers. She ran her fingers through his hair. He drummed his fingers on the table impatiently. a finger of land extending into the sea She was so mad, she gave him the finger. Some angry driver flipped me the finger on the highway this morning. Verb He was fingered as a suspect. thus far authorities haven't been able to finger the person who's been lighting fires around town
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Castro fouled off the next pitch, then took a split-finger fastball and sent it back up the middle to score Correa and give the Astros the lead. Matt Young, Chron, 20 Oct. 2021 The company pioneered the zinc finger nuclease gene-editing method. Trefis Team, Forbes, 19 Oct. 2021 The Seahawks were without Wilson for the first time in 166 games after the star quarterback underwent finger surgery last week, leaving the reins to Smith. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, 18 Oct. 2021 Alabama echoed on Instagram while giving a look at the sparkly engagement ring on Kardashian's finger. Ally Mauch,, 18 Oct. 2021 Jack O’Connell, North Andover — Five of the Scarlet Knights’ six touchdowns in a 42-6 Merrimack Valley Conference win over Dracut had O’Connell’s finger prints., 18 Oct. 2021 With Russell Wilson likely out for several weeks following finger surgery, it’s Geno Time in Seattle. Tim Bielik, cleveland, 17 Oct. 2021 Election workers will continue offering gloves, finger cots and pencils with erasers for touch-free voting to limit the spread of COVID-19. Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express-News, 17 Oct. 2021 And then my gaze came to rest on one finger in particular, the right-hand ring finger, which has that great big skull ring attached to it, the one Richards has worn for decades. Erik Hedegaard, Rolling Stone, 16 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Bennett compared the prints to finger flutings — a kind of prehistoric art made by people running their fingers over soft surfaces on cave walls. Nicoletta Lanese, Scientific American, 21 Sep. 2021 The collections celebrated hand-wrought romance and, yes, tactility—the ability to finger the pearly shell shards on a friend’s Bottega dress IRL. Chloe Malle, Vogue, 16 July 2021 Danielle escapes to the buffet to finger stale-looking pastries, sandwiches filled with mayonnaise-y salads, gloopy pasta. Jocelyn Silver, Vogue, 2 Apr. 2021 Auditors pored over his accounts in an attempt to finger him for corruption, an old tactic, but found nothing to justify prosecution. John Pomfret, The Atlantic, 25 Jan. 2021 Escape to rural roads in the Mazda, finger the paddle shifters in manual mode and it’s a fun box with tight handling and an eager drivetrain. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 19 Sep. 2020 As forensic virologists search to uncover the origins of COVID-19, bats have been fingered as a likely source. Diya Chacko, Los Angeles Times, 21 Apr. 2020 Families stalked the produce aisles, fingering cilantro and scallions (scarcities elsewhere), juggling cannisters of Lysol wipes and packages of flour (which had disappeared throughout the city). Bryan Washington, The New Yorker, 6 Apr. 2020 But this occurs only for the hand that fingers the strings. Quanta Magazine, 24 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'finger.' 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 finger


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1521, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2a

History and Etymology for finger


Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German fingar finger

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Time Traveler for finger

Time Traveler

The first known use of finger was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near finger



finger alphabet

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Last Updated

23 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Finger.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for finger



English Language Learners Definition of finger

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one of the five long parts of the hand that are used for holding things especially : one of the four that are not the thumb
: something that is long and thin and looks like a finger
: the part of a glove into which a finger is placed



English Language Learners Definition of finger (Entry 2 of 2)

: to touch (something) with your fingers
: to identify (someone) as the person who has committed a crime


fin·​ger | \ ˈfiŋ-gər How to pronounce finger (audio) \

Kids Definition of finger

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one of the five divisions of the end of the hand including the thumb
2 : something that resembles a finger a finger of land
3 : the part of a glove into which a finger goes


fingered; fingering

Kids Definition of finger (Entry 2 of 2)

: to touch with the fingers : handle


fin·​ger | \ ˈfiŋ-gər How to pronounce finger (audio) \

Medical Definition of finger

: any of the five terminating members of the hand : a digit of the forelimb especially : one other than the thumb

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transitive verb
fingered; fingering

Legal Definition of finger

: to accuse or identify as guilty was fingered simply because he fit the stereotype of a young, black street criminal— Jack Ewing

More from Merriam-Webster on finger

Nglish: Translation of finger for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of finger for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about finger


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