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 English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 

Idioms Body:  Fingers, Knuckles and Thumbs
from: 'five-finger discount'   to:  'under your thumb'

  • five-finger discount
    • If somebody gets a five-finger discount, they take something without paying; in other words, they steal.
      "How could he afford that watch?"
      "Who knows - perhaps with a five-finger discount?"

  • get your fingers burnt
    • If you get your fingers burnt, you suffer as a result of an unsuccessful action and are nervous about trying again.
      "He got his fingers burnt so badly in the last elections that he decided to withdraw from politics."

  • hang on by the fingernails
    • When you hang on by the fingernails, you manage to continue to do something in a very difficult situation.
      "The restaurant is losing more and more customers; the owner is just hanging on by the fingernails."

  • have a finger in every pie
    • If someone has a finger in every pie, they are involved in a large and varied number of activities and enterprises.
      "For information about the activities in this town, you should talk to John Brown.  He's got a finger in every pie."

  • keep your fingers crossed
    • If you keep our fingers crossed, you hope that something will be successful.
      "I'm doing my driving test tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for me."

  • keep your finger on the pulse
    • If you keep your finger on the pulse, you are constantly aware of the most recent events or developments.
      "A successful investor keeps his finger on the pulse of international business."

  • not lift a finger
    • Someone who does not lift a finger makes no effort to help or provide assistance when it is needed.
      "Many people saw the boy falling off his bike but not one of them lifted a finger."

  • point the finger at someone
    • If you point the finger at someone, you accuse or blame them for doing something wrong, or identify them as being guilty of something.
      "Don’t point the finger at the caretaker. It’s not his fault!"

  • put a finger on something
    • If you are able to identify or understand something such as the cause of a problem or the solution to it, you put your finger on it.
      "The atmosphere at the meeting was strange, but Marie couldn't put a finger on the cause of it."

  • put something on the long finger
    • If you put something on the long finger, you postpone it indefinitely.
      "She says she intends to go back to college, but she keeps putting it on the long finger."

  • all fingers and thumbs
    • If you are all fingers and thumbs, you are awkward and clumsy and do things incorrectly.
      "Would you mind wrapping this for me? I'm all fingers and thumbs!"

  • let slip through fingers
    • If you allow something such as a good opportunity to slip through your fingers, you allow it to pass without taking advantage of it, through carelessness or lack of effort.
      "He should have accepted the job when it was offered. He let the opportunity slip through his fingers."

  • have sticky fingers
    • Someone who has sticky fingers has a tendency to steal.
      "Items have been disappearing from the stock recently. Do any of the employees have sticky fingers?"

  • works your fingers to the bone
    • A person who works their fingers to the bone is extremely hardworking.
      "He deserves his success; he worked his fingers to the bone when he started the business."
  • knuckle down
    • If someone knuckles down to something, they start to work on it seriously.
      "If you want to succeed, you'll have to knuckle down to some serious work."

  • near the knuckle
    • Something said to be 'near the knuckle' is close to the limits of what people find acceptable, especially if it is sexually suggestive, or offensive to particular groups.
      "Some of his jokes are a bit near the knuckle."

  • rap someone on the knuckles
    • If someone gets a rap on/across the knuckles, they are punished or reprimanded, not very severely, but as a reminder not to do that again.
      "Andy got a rap on the knuckles for leaving the kitchen in a mess."
  • all thumbs / all fingers and thumbs
    • If you are all fingers and thumbs, you are awkward and clumsy and do things incorrectly.
      "Would you mind wrapping this for me? I'm all fingers and thumbs!"

  • stick out like a sore thumb
    • If something sticks out like a sore thumb, it is very obvious or visible in an unpleasant way.
      "The modern building sticks out like a sore thumb among the old houses."

  • under your thumb
    • If someone is under your thumb, they are completely under your control or influence.
      "Nobody ever protests. He has the whole group under his thumb."

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