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[fi-ney-guh l] /fɪˈneɪ gəl/
verb (used with object), finagled, finagling.
to trick, swindle, or cheat (a person) (often followed by out of):
He finagled the backers out of a fortune.
to get or achieve (something) by guile, trickery, or manipulation:
to finagle an assignment to the Membership Committee.
verb (used without object), finagled, finagling.
to practice deception or fraud; scheme.
Also, fenagle.
1925-30, Americanism; finaig- (variant of fainaigue) + -le
Related forms
finagler, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for finagle
  • It gives owners and general managers a legal excuse not to finagle.
  • So, adjuncts might consider trying to finagle the perks in this category from outside sources.
  • finagle the laws to get oneself elected permanently.
  • Lewis was able to finagle some personalized extras into the grid.
  • He didn't teach creative writing or finagle his way into many anthologies.
British Dictionary definitions for finagle


verb (informal)
(transitive) to get or achieve by trickery, craftiness, or persuasion; wangle
to use trickery or craftiness on (a person)
Derived Forms
finagler, noun
Word Origin
C20: probably changed from dialect fainaigue
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for finagle

1926, American English, possibly a variant of English dialectal fainaigue "to cheat or renege" (at cards), of unknown origin. Liberman says finagle is from figgle, phonetic variant of fiddle "fidget about," frequentative of fig. Related: Finagled; finagling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for finagle



A male homosexual; fag: The guy must be a real whacko. A fegelah, you figure?

[1960s+; fr Yiddish, ''little bird'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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