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sticky fingers

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plural noun Informal.
  1. a propensity to steal.
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Origin of sticky fingers

First recorded in 1930–35
Related formsstick·y-fin·gered [stik-ee-fing-gerd] /ˈstɪk iˈfɪŋ gərd/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

rapaciouscrookedlarcenouscunningpilferingcriminaldishonestfraudulentfurtivepredatorysecretiveslystealthylight-fingeredsticky-fingeredthievishstealing

Examples from the Web for sticky-fingered

Historical Examples

  • Women with slim-shanked, whining, sticky-fingered children dragging after them.

    A Book of Burlesques

    H. L. Mencken

  • “All this is on Sammy,” Perry said, pointing at the huge barbecue smoker, the crowds of sticky-fingered gorgers.

    Makers

    Cory Doctorow


British Dictionary definitions for sticky-fingered

sticky-fingered

adjective
  1. informal given to thieving
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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

Idioms and Phrases with sticky-fingered

sticky fingers

A propensity to steal, as in You'd better not leave any cash around; she's known for her sticky fingers. This metaphor makes it seem as if valuables adhere naturally to a thief's fingers. [Colloquial; late 1800s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.