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finagle

or fe·na·gle

[fi-ney-guh l]
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verb (used with object), fi·na·gled, fi·na·gling.
  1. to trick, swindle, or cheat (a person) (often followed by out of): He finagled the backers out of a fortune.
  2. to get or achieve (something) by guile, trickery, or manipulation: to finagle an assignment to the Membership Committee.
verb (used without object), fi·na·gled, fi·na·gling.
  1. to practice deception or fraud; scheme.

Origin of finagle

1925–30, Americanism; finaig- (variant of fainaigue) + -le
Related formsfi·na·gler, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for finagle

finagle

verb informal
  1. (tr) to get or achieve by trickery, craftiness, or persuasion; wangle
  2. to use trickery or craftiness on (a person)
Derived Formsfinagler, noun

Word Origin

C20: probably changed from dialect fainaigue
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for finagle

v.

1926, American English, possibly a variant of English dialectal fainaigue "to cheat or renege" (at cards), of unknown origin. Liberman says finagle is from figgle, phonetic variant of fiddle "fidget about," frequentative of fig. Related: Finagled; finagling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper