verb (used without object)
- to withdraw from or refuse to support a project, activity, scheme, etc.; renege: He said he'd lend me his motorcycle, but he finked out.
- to become untrustworthy.
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Origin of fink
Words nearby fink
What does fink mean?
Fink is an insulting name that commonly refers to someone who informs the police or other authorities when others break the law or the rules—an informant or snitch. It can also be used as a verb in the same way that snitch can.
In the context of labor unions, fink refers to a strikebreaker—someone who works during the strike (a scab) or finds workers to replace the striking ones. It can also be used as a verb in this sense. As a noun, it can also refer to a person placed by management to spy on union activities.
More generally, fink can be used to refer to an overall unpleasant or untrustworthy person.
In all of its uses, it is very negative, though not as common as some of its synonyms, like snitch and scab. Fink is used in the similar term ratfink, which refers to a snitch or a despicable person.
Example: That fink told the teacher I was going to cut class.
Where does fink come from?
The first records of fink as an insult come from the early 1900s. The exact origins of how fink entered English aren’t fully known, but it’s thought to come from the German word Fink, which means “finch” (a type of bird). In German, the word was used as a slang term referring to an undesirable person, especially an untidy one.
The word fink is often associated with betrayal, and for that reason it is usually intended as a deeply insulting term. When it refers to a person who betrays others to the cops, fink and ratfink are synonymous with snitch and stool pigeon. To fink is to inform on someone—to snitch or rat them out (hence the term ratfink).
In the context of labor unions, it carries the same harsh negativity as the term scab, though that term is much more commonly used. While scab typically refers to a worker who crosses the picket lines to work during a strike, fink can also refer to a person who recruits such workers, or who spies on union members.
When used generally, fink often refers to a person who is despised. More specifically, it can refer to someone seen as unreliable or untrustworthy. Relatedly, fink is also used in the phrase fink out, which can mean “to renege,” “to flake out,” or “to become untrustworthy.”
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What are some other forms related to fink?
- finkish (adjective)
What are some synonyms for fink?
What are some words that share a root or word element with fink?
What are some words that often get used in discussing fink?
How is fink used in real life?
Fink has different meanings in different contexts, but it is always used as an insult. It’s a strong one, but it’s not very commonly used.
Oh the '50s back when getting called a 'fink' was the biggest insult and guy giving you a pin was a huge relationship goal
— Katie Garbina (@katie_garbina) April 19, 2015
Bets were placed, the wildebeests entered the ring, but the match had hardly begun when the vice cops raided. Someone had snitched!
Never bring a fink to a gnu fight
— Thomas Brendel 🔀 (@theSolemnBard) July 31, 2018
there's only one place the info could have come from; it's clear that one of the robbers is a fink, a stoolie. & when you think about which it might be, there's only one possible answer. pic.twitter.com/Y2FcT08ZRr
— LRB Bookshop (@LRBbookshop) April 8, 2019
Try using fink!
Which of the following words is LEAST likely to be used when referring to a fink?
Example sentences from the Web for fink
Fink stresses the need for Nigeria to train and deploy women into more prominent law enforcement roles.
Fink ran through a litany of concerns: China, Japan, “the nonsense in Washington,” the Federal Reserve.Wall Street CEOs Say It’s The Best of Times and The Worst of Times|Daniel Gross|November 12, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Fink sat, meanwhile, in Anton's room, amusing himself with rallying his friend.
Now this last circumstance was true, and Anton had chanced to mention it to Fink among other of his childish recollections.
"Certainly, if it be any satisfaction to you;" and Fink was summoned.
Fink acts his part in the author's philosophy as a contrast to the Baron von Rothsattel.
I fink the writing says, Miss Daisy Ransom, with somebody's respects.Nellie's Housekeeping|Joanna Mathews