1. One of the five digits of the hand, especially one other than the thumb.
2. The part of a glove designed to cover a finger.
3. Something, such as an oblong peninsula, that resembles one of the digits of the hand.
4. The length or width of a finger.
5. A degree of participation; a share: "seems almost sure to have a finger or two in crafting the final blueprint" (George B. Merry).
6. An obscene gesture of defiance or derision made by pointing or jabbing the middle finger upward. Often used with the.
v. fin·gered, fin·ger·ing, fin·gers
1. To touch with the fingers; handle. See Synonyms at touch.
a. To mark (a score) with indications of which fingers are to play the notes.
b. To play (an instrument) by using the fingers in a particular order or way.
a. To identify as responsible for wrongdoing or a crime, especially to the police: fingered the sales clerk as the thief.
b. To identify or designate as being responsible: "An international team of scientists fingered [the fungus] as the culprit in die-offs of 19 amphibian species" (Science News).
4. Vulgar Slang To insert one or more fingers into the anus or vagina of (a person) as a means of sexual stimulation.
1. To handle something with the fingers.
2. Music To use the fingers in playing an instrument.
have/keep (one's) fingers crossed
To hope for a successful or advantageous outcome.
lay (one's)/a finger on
To locate; find: We haven't been able to lay a finger on those photos.
put (one's) finger on
To remember; recall: I know his name; I just can't put my finger on it.
twist/wrap around (one's) little finger
To dominate utterly and effortlessly.
[Middle English, from Old English; see penkwe in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus