thumb

noun
\ ˈthəm How to pronounce thumb (audio) \

Definition of thumb

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the short thick digit of the human hand that is analogous in position to the big toe and differs from the other fingers in having only two phalanges, allowing greater freedom of movement, and being opposable to each of them also : a corresponding digit in lower animals
2 : the part of a glove or mitten that covers the thumb
3 : a convex molding : ovolo
all thumbs
: extremely awkward or clumsy
under one's thumb or under the thumb
: under control : in a state of subservience her father did not have her that much under his thumb— Hamilton Basso

thumb

verb
thumbed; thumbing; thumbs

Definition of thumb (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to turn over pages thumb through a book
2 : to travel by thumbing rides : hitchhike thumbed across the country

transitive verb

1 : to request or obtain (a ride) in a passing automobile by signaling with the thumb
2a : to leaf through (pages) with the thumb : turn
b : to soil or wear by or as if by repeated thumbing a badly thumbed book
thumb one's nose
1 : to express disdain or defiance thumb their nose at opulenceSales Management
2 : to place the thumb at one's nose and extend the fingers as a gesture of scorn or defiance

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Synonyms for thumb

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of thumb in a Sentence

Noun a little girl sucking her thumb I accidentally cut my thumb. My mitten has a hole in the thumb. Verb I thumbed a ride to school. He thumbed his way to New York. He thumbed across the country.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The 19-year veteran hasn’t missed a game due to injury since 2015 but will now sit for approximately six weeks while torn ligaments in his thumb heal. Bill Enright, SI.com, "Week 3 Fantasy Football Injury Report," 17 Sep. 2019 The hind feet imprints looked like large human hands with prominent thumbs. Hans-dieter Sues, Smithsonian, "The Long, Strange Tale of the Hand Beast Footprints," 11 Sep. 2019 Some factories and plants now use finger or thumb scanners. Lois Szymanski, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Szymanski: Hard to accept, but inevitable, so best to roll with life’s changes," 14 Sep. 2019 The Bryant news came hours after shortstop Javier Baez was ruled out for the second consecutive start because of a sore left thumb. Mark Gonzales, chicagotribune.com, "Kris Bryant’s sore knee is just the latest problem causing the Cubs lineup headaches," 3 Sep. 2019 The Grammy winner also shared photos from her birthday dinner, in which Hadid was seen posing with two thumbs up. Georgia Slater, PEOPLE.com, "One Kiss Is All It Takes: Dua Lipa and Anwar Hadid Pack on the PDA During Her Birthday Celebrations," 24 Aug. 2019 The Broncos defensive linemen dominated practices this week, so the 49ers front needs a better showing to help Garoppolo, Nick Mullens and presumably C.J. Beathard, who missed Tuesday with a sore thumb but worked the ensuing three practices. Cam Inman, The Denver Post, "Five questions for 49ers vs. Broncos, including “How much Jimmy G?”," 18 Aug. 2019 The Broncos defensive linemen dominated practices this week, so the 49ers front needs a better showing to help Garoppolo, Nick Mullens and presumably C.J. Beathard, who missed Tuesday with a sore thumb but worked the ensuing three practices. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, "Five questions for 49ers vs. Broncos, including ‘How much Jimmy G?’," 18 Aug. 2019 In addition, quarterback C.J. Beathard sat out because of a sore thumb. Eric Branch, SFChronicle.com, "Continuity concerns? 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has a few," 13 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Mueller, who said his testimony would not stray from the findings of his report, slowly responded to the questions and thumbed through the pages of the report for specific citations. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Robert Mueller keeps asking lawmakers to 'repeat the question' — and Twitter took notice," 24 July 2019 While most defendants normally look to avoid the government’s ire, Stone has regularly thumbed his nose at the prosecution with Instagram posts to tens of thousands of followers that denigrate the Mueller investigation. Eric Tucker, BostonGlobe.com, "Roger Stone must stay off social media, judge decides," 16 July 2019 These people who thumb their noses at our way of life are the ones who give the other lovely newcomers a bad name. Leslie Anne Tarabella, al, "Dear Newcomers, ‘For everything there is a season’," 11 Sep. 2019 With the American people demanding action and Big Pharma continuing to thumb its nose at this crisis, Congress has a unique opportunity to pass this legislation and deliver results for struggling patients and families. Dylan Roberts, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Solution to drug pricing is in hands of U.S. Senate," 11 Sep. 2019 The city essentially thumbed its nose at the move, and by doing so dissed the charter the city normally abides by. Rubén Rosario, Twin Cities, "Rosario: Right now, trash collection dispute is a lose-lose situation," 20 Aug. 2019 Bashing Lam, chiding the police, and thumbing noses at Beijing have become the norm for venting deep-seated fears and frustrations in Hong Kong. Christine Loh, Time, "Hong Kong People Know That They Are Better Than Their Current Politics," 7 Sep. 2019 No more hours thumbing through a 300-page wedding planning book for etiquette advice and logistical tips. Riley & Grey, Harper's BAZAAR, "When It Comes to Wedding Planning, Is Instagram the New Pinterest?," 30 July 2019 Rock has always been about adolescent rage, thumbing noses at taboos and breaking stuff. John Adamian, courant.com, "Shock-rock original Alice Cooper to play Foxwoods," 28 June 2019

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

Noun

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

Verb

circa 1647, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2a

History and Etymology for thumb

Noun

Middle English thoume, thoumbe, from Old English thūma; akin to Old High German thūmo thumb, Latin tumēre to swell

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Time Traveler for thumb

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for thumb

Last Updated

25 Oct 2019

Cite this Entry

“Thumb.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/thumbed. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for thumb

thumb

noun
How to pronounce thumb (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of thumb

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the short, thick finger on the side of your hand
: the part of a glove or mitten that covers a thumb

thumb

verb

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

informal : to ask for or get a ride in a passing vehicle by sticking out your arm with your thumb up as you stand on the side of the road

thumb

noun
\ ˈthəm How to pronounce thumb (audio) \

Kids Definition of thumb

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the short thick finger next to the forefinger
2 : the part of a glove covering the thumb

thumb

verb
thumbed; thumbing

Kids Definition of thumb (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to turn the pages of quickly with the thumb
2 : to seek or get (a ride) in a passing automobile by signaling with the thumb

thumb

noun
\ ˈthəm How to pronounce thumb (audio) \

Medical Definition of thumb

: the short and thick first or most preaxial digit of the human hand that differs from the other fingers in having only two phalanges, in having greater freedom of movement, and in being opposable to the other fingers

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More from Merriam-Webster on thumb

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for thumb

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with thumb

Spanish Central: Translation of thumb

Nglish: Translation of thumb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thumb for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about thumb

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