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or fenagle

[fi-ney-guh l] /fɪˈneɪ gəl/
verb (used with object), finagled, finagling.
to trick, swindle, or cheat (a person) (often followed by out of):
He finagled the backers out of a fortune.
to get or achieve (something) by guile, trickery, or manipulation:
to finagle an assignment to the Membership Committee.
verb (used without object), finagled, finagling.
to practice deception or fraud; scheme.
Origin of finagle
1925-30, Americanism; finaig- (variant of fainaigue) + -le
Related forms
finagler, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for finagling


verb (informal)
(transitive) to get or achieve by trickery, craftiness, or persuasion; wangle
to use trickery or craftiness on (a person)
Derived Forms
finagler, 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
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Word Origin and History for finagling



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
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Slang definitions & phrases for finagling



  1. To manage or arrange, esp by dubious means; contrive: Well, she's always trying to finagle me out of it/ He finagled the driver into doing it for him
  2. To acquire, esp by trickery: She finagled a couple of choice seats

[1920s+; origin unknown; perhaps related to British dialect finegue, ''to evade,'' or fainague, ''to renege'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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