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finger


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All fingers and thumbs clumsy or awkward in handling something, lack all manual dexterity. An obsolete earlier (mid 16th-century) variant is, each finger is a thumb; in the 19th century, the expression all thumbs was used.

a finger in every pie involved in a large and varied number of activities or enterprises; the expression in this form is recorded from the late 19th century, but the image of a finger (earlier hand) in a pie indicating involvement dates back to the mid 16th century.

fingers were made before forks commonly used as a polite excuse for eating with one's hands at table. The saying is recorded from the mid 18th century, but an earlier variant ‘God made hands before knives’ is found in the mid 16th century.

see also cross one's fingers at cross3, five-finger exercise, green fingers.


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