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 formslight-fin·gered·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for light-fingered

Historical Examples of light-fingered

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

    'Firebrand' Trevison

    Charles Alden Seltzer

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

  • They are light-hearted, light-fingered and—lightest of all in their morals.

    The Mission of Janice Day

    Helen Beecher Long

  • He made me light-fingered, and gave me a chance to help myself.

    Woman in Prison

    Caroline H. Woods

  • I saw that he no longer contemplated a duel with his light-fingered adversary.

British Dictionary definitions for light-fingered



having nimble or agile fingers, esp for thieving or picking pockets
Derived Formslight-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

Word Origin and History for light-fingered

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper