from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A contemptible person.
  • noun An informer.
  • noun A hired strikebreaker.
  • intransitive verb To inform against another person.
  • intransitive verb To withhold promised support or participation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun slang Someone who betrays a trust.
  • verb slang To betray a trust.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Perhaps from German student slang Fink, student not belonging to a student association (from German, finch; akin to Old English finc) or perhaps from such German compounds as Schmutzfink, dirty person, mudslinger : Schmutz, filth + Fink, finch (perhaps influenced by Rotwelsch (German underworld argot) Fink, Pink, man; akin to Frisian pink, little finger, penis).]


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  • There are a number of opposing ideas for the etymology of this word. I feel very strongly that we need to root out the true source.

    October 21, 2007

  • Is ratfink a subspecies?

    October 22, 2007

  • Now the sheets are brown-stained and arctic,

          oh! love's a perfidious fink,

    and I snuffle the bed like a truffle-pig

          desperate to retrace his stink.

    - Peter Reading, Song of the Bedsit Girl, from Tom O' Bedlam's Beauties, 1981

    June 29, 2008