1 of 2


: one who is disapproved of or is held in contempt


2 of 2


finked; finking; finks

intransitive verb

: to give information about another's wrongdoing to an authority : squeal
" … A bunch of us had busted somebody's beautiful etched glass window with a brick. The cops came, rounded us up, and we all denied it except one guy who finked. … "Dick Cavett
usually used with on
He finked on them (to the police/teacher).
"Tell on you?" Ken said. "What makes you think we'd do a thing like that?" "Of course not," Toby said. "We don't go around finking on people."Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Examples of fink in a Sentence

Noun She says her boss is a rotten fink. his own brother turned out to be the fink who ratted them out to the police Verb we never would have been caught if he hadn't finked on us
Recent Examples on the Web
Dominican authorities say Fernandez, the intended target, is Gomez' cousin and that Gomez plotted the hit believing that Fernandez had finked on him to Dominican drug officials in 2011. Marc Ramirez, Dallas News, 20 June 2019 Everybody is -- everybody is finking on each other. Fox News, 30 June 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fink.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



of uncertain origin

Note: The word fink is apparently first attested in a sketch by the American humorist George Ade, "'Stumpy' and Other Interesting People," first printed in the Chicago Record on March 17, 1894. It has traditionally been compared with German Fink, literally, "finch" (see finch), used in various pejorative compounds, as Dreckfink (Dreck "filth"), Mistfink (Mist "manure"), Schmierfink (Schmiere "grease"), referring to a dirty or untidy person (Mistfink, at least, is known from the end of the 15th century); or with Fink in German university slang referring to someone who did not belong to a student association (Burschenschaft). Probably of more relevance to the English word is the recording of Fink, Finke in German criminal argot (Rotwelsch) as one of many variants (also Pink, Pincke, Pünke, Bink, Bing, Fünke) with the meaning "contemptible person" (recorded by the criminologist Friedrich Avé-Lallemant in his "Wörterbuch der Gaunersprache," in vol. 4 of Das Deutsche Gaunerthum, Leipzig, 1862). These forms are clearly dependent on a Dutch, Frisian and Low German etymon meaning "little finger" (see pinkie entry 2), extended to mean "penis" (a sense recorded for East Frisian pink, and a meaning of both Fink and Pink in Low German according to Avé-Lallemant) and then "contemptible person."


derivative of fink entry 1

First Known Use


1894, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1925, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fink was in 1894

Dictionary Entries Near fink

Cite this Entry

“Fink.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jul. 2024.

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