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sticky fingers

plural noun, Informal.
a propensity to steal.
Origin of sticky fingers
First recorded in 1930-35
Related forms
[stik-ee-fing-gerd] /ˈstɪk iˈfɪŋ gərd/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sticky-fingered
Historical Examples
  • Women with slim-shanked, whining, sticky-fingered children dragging after them.

    A Book of Burlesques

    H. L. Mencken
  • “All this is on Sammy,” Perry said, pointing at the huge barbecue smoker, the crowds of sticky-fingered gorgers.


    Cory Doctorow
British Dictionary definitions for sticky-fingered


(informal) given to thieving
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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Slang definitions & phrases for sticky-fingered



Prone to steal or pilfer; larcenous; light-fingered: What are you, sticky-fingered? (1890+)

sticky fingers

noun phrase

A person inclined to steal; an inclination to steal: sticky fingers of the neighbors who cat-sit

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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Idioms and Phrases with sticky-fingered

sticky fingers

A propensity to steal, as in You'd better not leave any cash around; she's known for her sticky fingers. This metaphor makes it seem as if valuables adhere naturally to a thief's fingers. [ ; late 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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