thumb

noun
\ ˈthəm How to pronounce thumb (audio) \
plural thumbs

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 : something resembling or suggesting a thumb I steep the tea with a thumb of ginger, which brings a lovely hint of spice …— Sarah Nasello I stop for a while among the crowds at the Pinnacle, a thumb of rock protruding from the rim of the Wonderland Range above Halls Gap.— Andrew Bain
4 : 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun On Wednesday, Astros manager Dusty Baker said an MRI revealed no serious damage to the thumb, but Peña is unable to swing a bat at the moment. Matt Young, Chron, 15 June 2022 So… with Edgar out of the picture, the Seven are back under the thumb of Homelander, and the Boys have no way of taking him out. Alex Raiman, EW.com, 10 June 2022 Sheriff saw himself as a victim, too—the thumb put on him, his career being held back by various people for various reasons. The New Yorker, 30 May 2022 The microfiber wipe across the thumb was much appreciated for quickly cleaning our glasses during transitions on muddy rides. Outside Online, 27 May 2022 Gradually, private farmers took over, but under the thumb of the Communist government. Washington Post, 21 May 2022 The weight, which was holding down one corner of a mat, had a mold of a tiny right hand and a quarter-size heart etched next to the thumb. Shayna Jacobs, BostonGlobe.com, 19 May 2022 To regain all of Novorossiya, which Putin referred to in a fiery speech delivered in mid-April, Odesa would need to be under the Kremlin’s thumb. Phil Mccausland, NBC News, 18 May 2022 Their age difference is kept in the foreground by his infantilizing of her, putting the thumb in her mouth. New York Times, 28 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Also, an amazing quote and not afraid to thumb his nose at authority. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 26 May 2022 The standard pupusas are available, made with either rice or corn flour, but they’re supplemented with inventions that thumb their nose at tradition. Washington Post, 9 May 2022 Sure, that would have been nice, and nobody would thumb their nose at a million dollars. Dalton Ross, EW.com, 17 Mar. 2022 Artists could even thumb their noses at their rivals on their home turf. Amanda Dorenberg, Rolling Stone, 25 Feb. 2022 In a post-truth world dominated by online conspiracy theories, young people have coalesced around the effort to thumb their nose at, fight and poke fun at misinformation. The New York Times, Arkansas Online, 12 Dec. 2021 In a post-truth world dominated by online conspiracy theories, young people have coalesced around the effort to thumb their nose at, fight and poke fun at misinformation. The New York Times, Arkansas Online, 12 Dec. 2021 Turn your left hand over, thumb down, reach across your chest, and grab the back of the doorframe. Kyle Norman, Outside Online, 30 Nov. 2021 In a post-truth world dominated by online conspiracy theories, young people have coalesced around the effort to thumb their nose at, fight and poke fun at misinformation. The New York Times, Arkansas Online, 12 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

Learn More About thumb

Time Traveler for thumb

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near thumb

thuluth

thumb

thumb-and-finger rule

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Statistics for thumb

Last Updated

19 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Thumb.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/thumb. Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for thumb

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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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