butterfingers

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See also: butter fingers

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From butter +‎ fingers (suggesting that someone is clumsy and drops things as if their hands are coated in slippery butter), from butterfingered.[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

butterfingers (plural butterfingers) (idiomatic, informal)

  1. Someone who tends to drop things; (more generally) someone who is clumsy or uncoordinated; a klutz.
    Synonym: (less common) butterfinger
    I am such a butterfingers. That’s the third drink I’ve spilled today.
    • 1836 March – 1837 October, Charles Dickens, “How Mr. Winkle, instead of Shooting at the Pigeon and Killing the Crow, Shot at the Crow and Wounded the Pigeon; []”, in The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, London: Chapman and Hall, [], published 1837, OCLC 28228280, page 69:
      [A]t every bad attempt at a catch, and every failure to stop the ball, he launched his personal displeasure at the head of the devoted individual in such denunciations as—"Ah, ah!—stupid"—"Now butter-fingers"—"Muff"—"Humbug"—and so forth—ejaculations which seemed to establish him in the opinion of all around, as a most excellent and undeniable judge of the whole art and mystery of the noble game of cricket.
    • 1883, Frances I[sabelle] M. Kershaw, “Master Me”, in Baby: A Study of Baby Life, London: Burns and Oates, [], OCLC 48019730, page 95:
      [] Please don't handle them [birds’ eggs], Me! They are very fragile, and I would’nt[sic – meaning wouldn’t] lose them for anything.” / “I must hold them—just this once,” persists Me. “Don’t think I shall be such a butter[-]fingers as to break them. I’ve handled heaps of eggs before these!”
  2. One's fingers which tend to drop things, or are clumsy or uncoordinated.
    • 2014, Scott Ciencin, chapter 1, in Luck Be a Lady [] (Charmed), New York, N.Y.: Simon Spotlight Entertainment, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, →ISBN, page 4:
      “I guess everyone’s got butterfingers around here,” Cole said with a sly smile. “Lucky for us, I’ve got fast reflexes.”
    • 2017, Cora Seton, chapter 9, in Issued to the Bride: One Marine, San Bernardino, Calif.: One Acre Press, →ISBN:
      “That boy’s got butterfingers,” Connor went on. “That’s twice he’s dropped a tool. He’s got no place on a construction site.”
  3. A tendency to drop things, or to be clumsy or uncoordinated.

Alternative forms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ butterfingers, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022; “butterfingers, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.

Further reading[edit]