verb (used with object)
- to play on (an instrument) with the fingers.
- to perform or mark (a passage of music) with a certain fingering.
- to inform against or identify (a criminal) to the authorities: He fingered the man who robbed the bank.
- to designate as a victim, as of murder or other crime.
verb (used without object)
- to have an interest or share in something.
- to meddle in something.
- to indicate exactly; remember: I know the name, but I can't put my finger on it.
- to discover; locate: I haven't been able to lay my finger on the book you requested.
- to elude one, as an opportunity not taken; escape: She let the chance of a lifetime slip through her fingers.
- to pass or be consumed quickly: Money just slips through his fingers.
Origin of finger
- any of the digits of the hand, often excluding the thumbTechnical name: digitus manus
- (as modifier)a finger bowl
- (in combination)a fingernail Related adjective: digital
- to have an interest in or take part in some activity
- to meddle or interfere
- to inform on or identify, esp for the police
- to choose (the victim or location of an intended crime)
Word Origin for finger
Old English fingor, from Proto-Germanic *fingraz (cf. Old Saxon fingar, Old Frisian finger, Old Norse fingr, Dutch vinger, German Finger, Gothic figgrs), with no cognates outside Germanic; perhaps connected with PIE *penkwe-, the root meaning "five."
As a unit of measure (Middle English) it represents the breadth of a finger, about three-quarters of an inch. They generally are numbered from the thumb, and named index finger, fool's finger, leech- or physic-finger, and ear-finger.
not lift a finger
Refuse to exert oneself to help or perform an action. For example, Dad won't lift a finger to help them financially, or Early in the war, America officially would not lift a finger. [Mid-1900s]
In addition to the idiom beginning with finger
- finger in the pie, have a
- at one's fingertips
- burn one's fingers
- cross one's fingers
- give someone the finger
- lay a finger on
- let slip (through the fingers)
- not lift a finger
- point the finger at
- put one's finger on
- put the finger on
- snap one's fingers at
- sticky fingers
- twist around one's finger
- work one's fingers to the bone