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See also: finger-print


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Alternative forms[edit]


From finger +‎ print.



fingerprint (plural fingerprints)

  1. The natural pattern of ridges on the tips of human fingers, unique to each individual.
  2. The patterns left on surfaces where uncovered fingertips have touched, especially as used to identify the person who touched the surface.
    • 1974, Patricia Highsmith, chapter 7, in Ripley's Game:
      Nervously, he wiped the gun of fingerprints real and imaginary with the stocking-covered fingers.
    • 2012, Christopher C. Harmon, Criminal Investigation, →ISBN, page 108:
      The crime scene investigator has the responsibility of collecting latent fingerprints.
  3. (by extension) A unique combination of features that serves as an identification of something.
    acoustic fingerprint
    • 2008, Monika Waksmundzka-Hajnos, Joseph Sherma, Teresa Kowalska, Thin Layer Chromatography in Phytochemistry, →ISBN, page 40:
      Most pharmacopoeial monographs of medicinal plants include TLC as method for identification based on a chromatographic fingerprint, which consists of a sequence of characteristic substance zones.
    • 2010, Christoph Steiner, Location Fingerprinting for Ultra-wideband Systems, →ISBN, page 9:
      The set of all location fingerprints and coordinates constitutes the location fingerprint database.
  4. (cryptography) A unique identification for a public key in asymmetric cryptography.
  5. (figurative) A trace that gives evidence of someone's involvement.
    • 1999, Arvin S. Gibson, Fingerprints of God, →ISBN, page 141:
      And continue to ask yourself the question, could the incredible complexity of the human body with its multitudinous specialized functions have come into being completely by chance or is it another fingerprint of God?


Derived terms[edit]


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See also[edit]


fingerprint (third-person singular simple present fingerprints, present participle fingerprinting, simple past and past participle fingerprinted)

  1. (transitive) To take somebody's fingerprints.
    The jail staff fingerprints its inmates routinely
    • 2017 September 23, “From north Wales to Norfolk, distraught beekeepers ask: who’s stealing our hives?”, in The Observer[1]:
      Too often, the union says, farmers feel the police response is inadequate and the sentencing too lenient. It’s a view seemingly shared by one of the latest victims of bee rustling, Norfolk bee keeper Simon Greenwood, who told the Observer that police had taken some photos of the scene, fingerprinted a can and then sent him a letter to say no further action was being taken.
  2. (transitive) To identify something uniquely by a combination of measurements.
    • 2004, Philip L. Hageman, Use of Short-Term (5-Minute) and Long-Term (18-Hour) Leaching Tests to Characterize, Fingerprint, and Rank Mine-Waste Material from Historical Mines in the Deer Creek, Snake River, and Clear Creek Watersheds in and around the Montezuma Mining District, Colorado, →ISBN, page 1:
      Analytical results from this combination of leach tests are tools that allow the investigator to quantify (fingerprint) which geochemical components could be expected in runoff from these piles if they were leached by a cloudburst...
    • 2006, Marina May Read, Focus on DNA Fingerprinting Research, →ISBN, page 30:
      A significant disadvantage of DNA fingerprinting that excludes conventional methods of population genetic analysis is an absence of genetic interpretation of hybridization fragment origin.


See also[edit]