\ ˈfiŋk How to pronounce fink (audio) \

Definition of fink

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one who is disapproved of or is held in contempt


finked; finking; finks

Definition of fink (Entry 2 of 2)

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fink.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of fink


1894, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1925, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fink


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

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Dictionary Entries Near fink



fin keel

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Cite this Entry

“Fink.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for fink



English Language Learners Definition of fink

: a person who is strongly disliked
: a person who gives information to the police or to some other authority about the bad behavior or criminal activity of someone else


\ ˈfiŋk How to pronounce fink (audio) \

Kids Definition of fink

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person who is disliked
2 : a person who tattles


finked; finking

Kids Definition of fink (Entry 2 of 2)

: to tell on : tattle

More from Merriam-Webster on fink

Nglish: Translation of fink for Spanish Speakers


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