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

  • n. The short thick digit of the human hand, next to the index finger and opposable to each of the other four digits.
  • n. A corresponding digit in other animals, especially primates. Also called pollex.
  • n. The part of a glove or mitten that covers the thumb.
  • n. Architecture An ovolo.
  • transitive v. To scan (written matter) by turning over pages with or as if with the thumb.
  • transitive v. To disarrange, soil, or wear by careless or frequent handling.
  • transitive v. Informal To solicit (a ride) from a passing vehicle by signaling with the thumb.
  • intransitive v. To scan written matter by turning over pages with or as if with the thumb: thumbed through the latest issue of the magazine.
  • intransitive v. Informal To hitchhike.
  • idiom all thumbs Lacking physical coordination, skill, or grace; clumsy.
  • idiom thumb (one's) nose To express scorn or ridicule by or as if by placing the thumb on the nose and wiggling the fingers.
  • idiom thumbs down An expression of rejection, refusal, or disapproval.
  • idiom thumbs up An expression of approval, success, or hope.
  • idiom under (one's) thumb Under the control of someone; subordinate to.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. 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.
  • n. The part of a slider that may be moved linearly along the slider.
  • n. A thumbnail picture.
  • v. To touch with the thumb.
  • v. To turn the pages of (a book) in order to read it cursorily.
  • v. To hitchhike

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The short, thick first digit of the human hand, differing from the other fingers in having but two phalanges; the pollex. See pollex.
  • intransitive v. To play with the thumb or thumbs; to play clumsily; to thrum.
  • transitive v. To handle awkwardly.
  • transitive v. To play with the thumbs, or with the thumbs and fingers.
  • transitive v. To soil or wear with the thumb or the fingers; to soil, or wear out, by frequent handling; also, to cover with the thumb.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cover with the thumb, as the vent of a muzzle-loading cannon.
  • To handle or perform awkwardly: as, to thumb over a tune.
  • To soil or wear out with much handling; hence, to use, read, or turn over the pages of (as a book).
  • To turn (one's glass) over the thumb: an old custom when persons were drinking together, intending to show that the glass had been emptied so that the small drop remaining would lie on the thumb-nail without running off. Compare supernaculum.
  • n. In geology, a columnar projection of eruptive rock.
  • n. The shortest and thickest finger of the human hand; the pollex; the first digit of the hand, on the radial side, next to the index or forefinger.
  • n. The inner, radial, or first digit of the fore paw of any animal. When there are five digits, the first of these always corresponds to the human thumb; otherwise not.
  • n. The movable radial digit of a bird's manus or pinion, which bears the packet of feathers called the alula or bastard wing, and which is usually movable apart from the rest of the bones.
  • n. The thumb of the foot; the hallux; the inner digit of the foot, called the great toe in man.
  • n. The hind toe of a bird (except a three-toed woodpecker); the hallux; when there are two hind toes, the inner one of these (except in trogons).
  • n. Palpitation of the heart in domestic animals, as the horse, the result of functional or organic disease. See palpitation.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. feel or handle with the fingers
  • n. the part of a glove that provides a covering for the thumb
  • n. a convex molding having a cross section in the form of a quarter of a circle or of an ellipse
  • v. travel by getting free rides from motorists
  • n. the thick short innermost digit of the forelimb
  • v. look through a book or other written material


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

Middle English, from Old English thūma; see teuə- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English thoume, thoumbe, from Old English þūma, from Proto-Germanic *þūmô (cf. West Frisian tomme, Dutch duim, German Daumen), from Proto-Indo-European *tūm- (“to grow”) (cf. Welsh tyfu ("to grow"), Latin tumēre ("to swell"), Albanian thumb ("a sting, protuberance"), Lithuanian tumėti ("to thicken, clot"), Ancient Greek týmbos 'burial mound', Avestan tūma 'strong', Sanskrit túmras 'strong, thick').



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