fat finger

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See also: fatfinger and fat-finger



From the idea that a finger that is too fat or large is likely to accidentally press one or more keys other than the intended one.



fat finger (plural fat fingers)

  1. (idiomatic, humorous, informal, also attributively) A supposed cause of typographical errors, especially keyboard errors that cause erroneous trades to be executed in financial markets, or typing errors on touchscreen devices.
    • 2005, William Carroll, “Just Not Your Type?”, in The Untied Stats on American: And Other Computer Assisted Writing Errors, Lincoln, Neb.: iUniverse, →ISBN, page 8:
      The first subcategory is what I choose to call Fat Fingers Syndrome. This is a problem obviously caused by poor typing techniques which result in a single finger striking two keys instead of one. [...] The opposite of the fat finger problem is what I call simply the Missed Key(s). This can also result in the writing of real (but wrong) words, such as "rod" for rode or "trace" for trance.
    • 2006 December 25, James Quinn, “LSE moves to nail ‘fat finger’ deals”, in John Bryant, editor, The Daily Telegraph[1], London: Telegraph Media Group, ISSN 0307-1235, OCLC 635239717:
      The London Stock Exchange is to enhance the measures it has in place to ensure ‘fat finger’ trades do not occur.
    • 2010 May 6, “‘Fat fingers’ could be behind market crash”, in CTV News[2], Vancouver, B.C.:
      Although it appeared to be triggered by unrest in Greece, the real cause could be a trader's "fat fingers."
    • 2010 May 7, “Fear itself the problem as Greece’s woes have yet to spread”, in The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, N.S.W.: Nine Publishing, ISSN 0312-6315, OCLC 958159901:
      The Securities and Exchange Commission is on the case, pursuing a lead that a "fat finger" keystroke error on a trade in Procter & Gamble, one of the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, turned a trade of millions into a trade of billions.
    • 2011, Jan De Spiegeleer; Wim Schoutens, “Measuring the Risk”, in The Handbook of Convertible Bonds: Pricing, Strategies and Risk Management, Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, →ISBN, part III (Risk Management and Strategies), page 250:
      A typical operational risk that needs to be countered is the ‘fat finger’ where, in stressful and fast-moving markets, a trader might key in a wrong order. There are numerous examples where such an order moved the market and generated a loss for the executing firm. A fat finger limit will prevent a portfolio manager keying in a trade with a size beyond a particular trigger level.
    • 2013, Irene Aldridge, “Regulation”, in High-frequency Trading: A Practical Guide to Algorithmic Strategies and Trading Systems (Wiley Trading Series), 2nd edition, Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, →ISBN, page 217:
      Maximum quantity limits help prevent human and algorithmic "fat finger" errors by enforcing the maximum order sizes and trading positions.
    • 2014, Lucy Diamond [pseudonym; Sue Mongredien], One Night in Italy, London: Pan Books, published 2016, →ISBN, page 419:
      Someone with fat fingers pressed a wrong number is my guess. I suppose I'd better give them a ring and fess up.
    • 2014, Jesse Feiler, “What Makes a Great iOS App”, in iOS App Development for Dummies (For Dummies), Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, →ISBN, part 1 (Getting Started), page 22:
      Still, due to fat fingers, user-interface elements need to be large enough and spaced far apart enough so that users' fingers can find their way around the interface comfortably.
    • 2015 May, Alex Archer, chapter 6, in Day of Atonement (Rogue Angel; a Gold Eagle Book), Don Mills, Ont.: Worldwide Library, →ISBN, page 45:
      I must have dialed the wrong number. Fat fingers and all that.

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fat finger (third-person singular simple present fat fingers, present participle fat fingering, simple past and past participle fat fingered)

  1. Alternative form of fat-finger (to type (something) erroneously on a keyboard, keypad, or touchscreen by accidentally pressing with a finger one or more keys other than the intended one)
    • 2015, Brad Williams; David Damstra; Hal Stern, “Securing WordPress”, in Professional WordPress: Design and Development, 3rd edition, Indianapolis, Ind.: Wrox Press, John Wiley & Sons, →ISBN, page 371:
      Slowing down the number of login attempts before an IP address is blocked reduces the attractiveness of your site to an automatic attack script. Note that generally these offer temporary IP address blocking, so that valid users who accidentally fat finger their password have an opportunity to log in after the ban has expired.

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