The names of fingers explained

Names of fingers

The human body is a miracle that one cannot explain. It is a complicated yet mesmerizing work of art. Each part differs from the other in such a way that is appealing to the human mind. Fingers are no exception to that. When we look at the hand, five unique fingers catch our gaze.

But the question remains, how did one come up with the names? Someone must have had a pondering thought when they decided to name the fingers. Why did they decide to name the fingers specifically?

Why was it named ‘Thumb’?

The classification of finger names goes back to the 19th century. The Europeans of the 19th century used the term which roughly meant ‘swollen’, therefore labeling it as the ‘swollen one’. In terminology, ‘pollex’ is used to define thumb.

Why did the name ‘Index finger’ stuck?

It is no surprise that this finger is used to point, so the name indicates its purpose. The Index was a Latin- originated term which meant ‘to point at something’, mainly since it was the one used for pointing purposes.

Some cultures also adapted to the name ‘forefinger’ as it was the first finger after the thumb. Others might use ‘prayer finger’ for religious properties but overall, the name Index finger was globally accepted.

Why was ‘Middle finger’ named more commonly than the rest?

As one can see, the middle finger stands right between two sets of fingers or a set of fingers and a set of finger/thumb. The name itself is very self-explanatory but still holds a story.

Less commonly, terms such as ‘long finger’ were also used because of their length. There is a whole set of history as to why this finger became an offensive gesture but it is believed to be due to the beliefs of some Latin people.

Why is the name ‘Ring finger’ used?

While many people might believe it to be named for the obvious reason, there is much deeper reasoning to it. It was not named merely for the purpose of wearing rings, but it sure was adapted because of this.

Many believed that a nerve or artery from this finger led way to the heart and hence people started falling victims to this superstitious belief. They thought it would add deeper meaning to their love life.

In some ancient European cultures, it was also called the ‘clean finger’ to save it from the bad reputation of its neighboring finger.

Where did the name ‘Pinky’ come from?

The most unique name of all. How did it occur? What was the reason behind it? One thing is for sure, it had no association whatsoever with the color.

It was a Dutch-originated term that was used to refer to something small and loveable. The Dutch word ‘pink’ means small.

There had been many names that were well suited for this finger. ‘Ear finger’ was exceptionally used for the purpose it used to serve, ear wax removal. Some might even call it ‘sparrow finger’ since it is considered to be the smallest bird.

How do people feel about the classification of fingers?

I don’t think people had to will be paying so much attention to why fingers were named the way they were. It is just something to get used to.

Nevertheless, it can’t be ignored that a lot of minds worked hard to put together the names of the fingers as we know them.

While people around the world still adapt to the collectively accepted names, there are a whole lot of other names that we once put to use when naming them.

Not only does this show how well invested people were but also how much time they had to input in order to come up with the names.

Some cultures are still trying to come up with alternative names for the fingers based on their workability but the five universally accepted names are thumb, Index, Middle, Ring, and Pinky. At least that is what we are sure of as of now.

In the future, we hope to have a better evaluation of how the classification of body parts works so that we can understand the great minds that worked for it and also the process it took to finalize the names that stuck.

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