lapsus digitorum

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Coined as an analogue of lapsus linguae for users of sign language from the Latin lāpsus (a slipping or falling) (lāpsūs in the plural) + digitōrum (of fingers), genitive plural form of digitus (finger) = “a slipping of fingers”; compare lapsus digiti.




lapsus digitorum (plural lapsus digitorum)

  1. (rare) A spelling error in signing.
    • 1864: The Reverend Samuel Smith, The Deaf and Dumb: Their Deprivation and Its Consequences; The Process of Their Education, With other Interesting Particulars, page 23
      We remember an instance of a little girl who had picked up the phrase “good-night” from the elder pupils, spelling each letter on her fingers, using it as they did, when bidding adieu to the teacher who conducted evening prayers; but she showed her misapprehension of its exact meaning, by saying “good-night” to her teacher after morning school. It was no mere lapsus digitorum, for having not yet been taught the names of the divisions of time, she had confounded the particular term “good-night,” with the general one “good-bye.”

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