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sticky fingers

plural noun, Informal.
a propensity to steal.
Origin of sticky fingers
Related forms
[stik-ee-fing-gerd] /ˈstɪk iˈfɪŋ gərd/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sticky fingers
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The brat grew restless and wandered disconsolately around the room, leaving traces of sticky fingers everywhere.

    Wanted: A Cook Alan Dale
  • He felt its sticky fingers seize him for an instant and then the child was gone.

  • More than that, I know why you were fired out of Maxwell's office; you've got sticky fingers.

    The Real Man Francis Lynde
  • We tried to get raps, but were unsuccessful, except in getting noises from sticky fingers on the table.

    The Life of James McNeill Whistler Elizabeth Robins Pennell
  • Tommy thoughtfully scratched his head with his sticky fingers.

    Toaster's Handbook Peggy Edmund and Harold W. Williams, compilers
  • In his sticky fingers the bridle-rein itched like so much poisoned ribbon.

    Little Eve Edgarton Eleanor Hallowell Abbott
Slang definitions & phrases for sticky fingers



  1. Sentimental; schmaltzy, soppy: a sticky little song about a crippled puppy (1864+)
  2. Difficult; tricky; nasty: He considered himself a tap dancer, because he was very agile at gliding away from any sticky situation (1915+)

Related Terms


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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Idioms and Phrases with sticky fingers

sticky fingers

A propensity to steal, as in You'd better not leave any cash around; she's known for her sticky fingers. This metaphor makes it seem as if valuables adhere naturally to a thief's fingers. [ ; late 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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