Dictionary.com's Word of the Year is...
fingerprint fin·ger·print (fĭng'gər-prĭnt')
An impression on a surface of the curves formed by the ridges on a fingertip, especially such an impression made in ink and used as a means of identification.
A distinctive or identifying mark or characteristic.
An analytical method capable of making fine distinctions between similar compounds.
To take fingerprints of.
To identify by a distinctive mark or characteristic.
The impression or mark left by the underside of the tips of the fingers or thumbs. The impression is formed by a pattern of ridges on the skin surface. This pattern is unique for each individual and therefore can serve as a means of identification. (Compare DNA fingerprinting.)
Note: Fingerprinting is used extensively in criminal investigation, but it is also used as a means of identification by many organizations.