From Middle English thombe, thoume, thoumbe, from Old English þūma, from Proto-West Germanic *þūmō, from Proto-Germanic *þūmô from Proto-Indo-European *tūm- (“to grow”).
See also West Frisian tomme, Dutch duim, Low German Duum, German Daumen, Danish tomme, Swedish tumme; also Welsh tyfu (“to grow”), Latin tumēre (“to swell”), Lithuanian tumėti (“to thicken, clot”), Ancient Greek τύμβος (túmbos, “burial mound”), Avestan 𐬀𐬨𐬏𐬙 (amūt, “strong”), Sanskrit तुम्र (túmra, “strong, thick”). The parasitic ‐b has existed since the late 13th century.
thumb (plural thumbs)
- The short thick digit of the hand that for humans has the most mobility and can be made to oppose (moved to touch) all of the other fingers.
- (graphical user interface) The part of a slider that may be moved linearly along the slider.
- a scroll-bar thumb
- (colloquial, Internet) A thumbnail picture.
- 2001, Gary, “Wanna See Porn? Take a Look At These (Free Expandable Thumbs) - CLICK HERE”, in alt.sex.services (Usenet):
- (digit): pollex, digit I, first digit (anatomy); thumby (colloquial)
- (digit): opposable thumb
- all fingers and thumbs
- all thumbs
- brown thumb
- fash one's thumb
- green thumb
- opposable thumb
- rule of thumb
- stick out like a sore thumb
- thumb a lift
- thumb a ride
- thumb on the scale
- thumb-sketch or thumb sketch
- thumb wrestle
- thumbs up
- under one's thumb
- under the thumb
- thumb piano
thumb (third-person singular simple present thumbs, present participle thumbing, simple past and past participle thumbed)
- (transitive) To touch or cover with the thumb.
- to thumb the touch-hole of a cannon
- 2022 November 15, Patrick Wintour, “Sergei Lavrov, a fixture of Russian diplomacy facing his toughest test in Ukraine”, in The Guardian:
- News agencies reported Lavrov had been sent to hospital for a checkup, only for the Russian foreign ministry to rush out a picture of Lavrov in shorts, sporting an Apple watch and Jean-Michel Basquiat-inspired T-shirt, thumbing his notes for his first address at the summit on Tuesday.
- (transitive, with through) To turn the pages of (a book) in order to read it cursorily.
- I thumbed through the book and decided not to bother reading it all.
- 1948 March and April, “Notes and News: Lines in County Donegal”, in Railway Magazine, page 129:
- It is also disconcerting when you suddenly realise that the driver isn't steering, but may be thumbing over his Customs papers with his feet up.
- (travel) To hitchhike
- So I started thumbin' back east, toward my hometown.
- 1969, Kris Kristofferson; Fred Foster, Me and Bobby McGee:
- Bobby thumbed a diesel down, just before it rained.
- 1980, Kye Fleming; Dennis Morgan, Smoky Mountain Rain:
- Thumbed a diesel down, outside a cafe.
- To soil or wear with the thumb or the fingers; to soil, or wear out, by frequent handling.
- 1849–1861, Thomas Babington Macaulay, chapter 13, in The History of England from the Accession of James the Second, volume (please specify |volume=I to V), London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, →OCLC:
- He gravely informed the enemy that all his cards had been thumbed to pieces, and begged them to let him have a few more packs.
- To manipulate (an object) with the thumb; especially, to pull back the hammer or open the cylinder of a revolver.
- 2009, Jon Sharp, The Trailsman #337: Silver Showdown:
- Fargo palmed out his own revolver, thumbing back the hammer as the barrel came up.
- 2015, Tony Monchinski, Bad Men (I Kill Monsters Book 3):
- Rainford reached down and found the revolver. Thumbing the cylinder open, he inspected the load.
- 2015, Don Fitzsimmons, If You Need a Laugh:
- Andy opened the revolver, thumbed in a cartridge.
- To fire (a single action revolver) quickly by pulling the hammer while keeping the trigger depressed.
- 2011, Hans-Christian Vortisch, GURPS Tactical Shooting, page 14:
- To thumb a single-action revolver, hold down the trigger and use the thumb on the same hand to fire the gun by manipulating the hammer.
- (firing a single action revolver via hammer flicks while trigger is held down) fanning (using opposite hand instead of thumb)
- ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “thumb”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
From *thon (“(finger)nail”) (modern thua). More at thua.
thumb m (indefinite plural thumba)
- stinger (of a bee)
- thorn, prick
- bell clapper, tongue (of bell)
- tack, thumbtack, shoe tack (spike)
- point of arrowhead, spiked tip of a goad or prod
thumb (plural thumbes)
- Alternative form of þombe (“thumb”)
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