[ fing-ger-print ]
See synonyms for fingerprint on
  1. an impression of the markings of the inner surface of the last joint of the thumb or other finger.

  2. such an impression made with ink for purposes of identification.

  1. any unique or distinctive pattern that presents unambiguous evidence of a specific person, substance, disease, etc.

verb (used with object)
  1. to take or record the fingerprints of.

Origin of fingerprint

First recorded in 1855–60; finger + print

Words Nearby fingerprint Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use fingerprint in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for fingerprint


/ (ˈfɪŋɡəˌprɪnt) /

  1. an impression of the pattern of ridges on the palmar surface of the end joint of each finger and thumb

  2. any identifying characteristic

  1. biochem the pattern of fragments obtained when a protein is digested by a proteolytic enzyme, usually observed following two-dimensional separation by chromatography and electrophoresis

  1. (tr) to take an inked impression of the fingerprints of (a person)

  2. to take a sample of (a person's) DNA

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

Cultural definitions for fingerprint


The impression or mark left by the underside of the tips of the fingers or thumbs. The impression is formed by a pattern of ridges on the skin surface. This pattern is unique for each individual and therefore can serve as a means of identification. (Compare DNA fingerprinting.)

Notes for fingerprint

Fingerprinting is used extensively in criminal investigation, but it is also used as a means of identification by many organizations.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.