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digitus manūs (digit of the hand)


From Proto-Indo-European *deyǵ- (to show, point out, pronounce solemnly), variant of the root *deyḱ- that also gave Latin dīcō (I say, speak talk) and English toe. Fingers were thus "pointers, indicators". Digit sense comes from the fact that they were used for counting up to ten.

Indo-European cognates include Sanskrit दिशति (diśáti, to show, point out), Ancient Greek δείκνυμι (deíknumi, to show), δίκη (díkē, manner, custom), Old English tǣċan (to show, point out) (English teach) and tācen (English token).

Compare similar semantic shift in English in the cognate word teacher (forefinger, index finger).



digitus m (genitive digitī); second declension

  1. a finger, toe, digit
  2. a twig


Second declension.

Number Singular Plural
nominative digitus digitī
genitive digitī digitōrum
dative digitō digitīs
accusative digitum digitōs
ablative digitō digitīs
vocative digite digitī

Derived terms[edit]