finger

1 of 2

noun

fin·​ger ˈfiŋ-gər How to pronounce finger (audio)
1
: any of the five terminating members of the hand : a digit of the forelimb
especially : one other than the thumb
2
a
: 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
fingerlike adjective

finger

2 of 2

verb

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

transitive verb

1
: to touch or feel with the fingers
2
a
: 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
2
a
: 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

Example Sentences

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The timetable with Robinson’s finger surgery in early January had him potentially back in a month. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 29 Jan. 2023 Fintech has empowered business owners across the world to track their transactions and funding at the swipe of a finger or click of a mouse, from the comfort of their own homes. Xan Myburgh, Forbes, 27 Jan. 2023 Then Varnum will show you how to saber that bottle without losing a finger or putting an eye out. oregonlive, 27 Jan. 2023 Pick your pot of tea to sip with finger sandwiches, cakes, scones, and more. Town & Country, 25 Jan. 2023 The photos show Jenner nibbling on a cluster of grapes, putting a finger to her lips, and pouting moodily at the camera while leaning against her king-size bed. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 25 Jan. 2023 The cucumber and cream cheese spread is served up as finger sandwiches, especially for Kentucky Derby. The Courier-Journal, 24 Jan. 2023 Passages is imbued with a sense of life lived — at times painfully — and lessons learned, but there’s no finger-wagging, and the filmmaker is willing to spare those who deserve to be spared. Jon Frosch, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Jan. 2023 Each finger exerts an extremely low amount of pressure — about 0.0455 kPA, or less than one-tenth of the pressure of a human’s eyelid on their eye. IEEE Spectrum, 23 Jan. 2023
Verb
To finger them as the cause of inflation is like blaming wet sidewalks for rain. John Tamny, Forbes, 22 Jan. 2023 The authors finger pleiotropy in particular as the problem for sequence level evolution in morphogenes, as changes in proteins are much more likely to be problematic if those proteins are upstream from many more traits. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 12 Apr. 2010 His method quickly finds its way into the courts, where it is used to exonerate people wrongly accused of crimes and to finger the true culprits. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, 20 Oct. 2022 Following the death of their building’s board president Bunny Folger, three characters — Charles, Oliver, and Mabel — set out to finger her killer. Andy Meek, BGR, 18 Sep. 2022 In addition, neither Violante nor Gonzalez ever claimed Guevara leaned on them or threatened them to finger a specific suspect, as Guevara has been alleged to do in multiple other cases. Megan Crepeau, Chicago Tribune, 14 July 2022 The permafrost around Fairbanks is discontinuous; jagged pieces of it finger north-facing slopes and enfold the low-lying valleys. Lois Parshley, Anchorage Daily News, 3 May 2022 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 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near finger

Cite this Entry

“Finger.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/finger. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

finger

1 of 2 noun
fin·​ger ˈfiŋ-gər How to pronounce finger (audio)
1
: one of the five divisions of the end of the hand
especially : one other than the thumb
2
a
: something that resembles or does the work of a finger
b
: a part of a glove into which a finger is inserted
3
: the width of a finger
fingered
-gərd
adjective
fingerlike adjective

finger

2 of 2 verb
fingered; fingering -g(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce finger (audio)
1
: to touch with the fingers : handle
2
: to perform with the fingers or with a certain fingering

Medical Definition

finger

noun
fin·​ger ˈfiŋ-gər How to pronounce finger (audio)
: any of the five terminating members of the hand : a digit of the forelimb
especially : one other than the thumb

Legal Definition

finger

transitive verb
fin·​ger
fingered; fingering
: to accuse or identify as guilty
was fingered simply because he fit the stereotype of a young, black street criminalJack Ewing

More from Merriam-Webster on finger

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