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90s Slang You Should Know


[lahyt-fing-gerd] /ˈlaɪtˈfɪŋ gərd/
skillful at or given to pilfering, especially by picking pockets; thievish.
having light and nimble fingers.
Origin of light-fingered
First recorded in 1540-50
Related forms
light-fingeredness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for light-fingered
Historical Examples
  • Sooner than steal a 'cello, the light-fingered would button his coat over a baby white elephant and let it tusk his vitals.

  • Fork over that coin you lifted from me in the Elk, you light-fingered hound!

    'Firebrand' Trevison Charles Alden Seltzer
  • Besides, light-fingered Lem Wacker was not to be trusted where things lay around loose.

  • Well, so you landed your light-fingered friend, did you, laddie?

  • This lot is piled into the cart so as to blind any of them light-fingered gents as sometimes takes to the road.

    Indian and Scout F. S. Brereton
  • The light-fingered gentry, however, were not as chary of her.

    Ethelyn's Mistake Mary Jane Holmes
  • Our light-fingered guests have been found in a gypsy tribe passing through to the north, but my spoons have not been found.

    The Worn Doorstep Margaret Sherwood
  • It is not given to all men to be light-brained, light-limbed, light-fingered.

    A Book of Scoundrels Charles Whibley
  • As has been stated, they constitute the bulk of the light-fingered p. 530fraternity.

  • But if there was any light-fingered business to be done, I dessay them gipsies hev somethin' to do with it.'

    The Bishop's Secret Fergus Hume
British Dictionary definitions for light-fingered


having nimble or agile fingers, esp for thieving or picking pockets
Derived Forms
light-fingeredness, noun
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 light-fingered

"thievish," 1540s, from light (adj.1) + finger.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for light-fingered



  1. Inclined to steal; thievish; sticky-fingered (1547+)
  2. Having a light and nimble touch: The light-fingered thoughtfulness, the ironic lyricism of the most civilized playwright of the era (1804+)
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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