or fe·na·gle

[fi-ney-guh l]

verb (used with object), fi·na·gled, fi·na·gling.

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), fi·na·gled, fi·na·gling.

to practice deception or fraud; scheme.

Origin of finagle

1925–30, Americanism; finaig- (variant of fainaigue) + -le
Related formsfi·na·gler, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for finagling

plot, cheat, contrive, trick, deceive, scheme, manipulate, swindle

British Dictionary definitions for finagling


verb informal

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

Word Origin for finagle

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 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