|1.||Technical name: pollex the first and usually shortest and thickest of the digits of the hand, composed of two short bonesRelated: pollical|
|2.||the corresponding digit in other vertebrates|
|3.||the part of a glove shaped to fit the thumb|
|4.||architect another name for ovolo|
|5.||all thumbs clumsy|
|6.||thumbs down an indication of refusal, disapproval, or negation: he gave the thumbs down on our proposal|
|7.||thumbs up an indication of encouragement, approval, or acceptance|
|8.||under someone's thumb at someone's mercy or command|
|—vb (when intr, |
|9.||(tr) to touch, mark, or move with the thumb|
|10.||to attempt to obtain (a lift or ride) by signalling with the thumb|
|11.||to flip the pages of (a book, magazine, etc) perfunctorily in order to glance at the contents|
|12.||thumb one's nose at to deride or mock, esp by placing the thumb on the nose with fingers extended|
|[Old English thūma; related to Old Saxon thūma, Old High German thūmo, Old Norse thumall thumb of a glove, Latin tumēre to swell]|
The short thick digit of the human hand, next to the index finger and opposable to each of the other four digits.
Expressions of approval and disapproval respectively: “The two critics disagreed about the movie; one gave it thumbs up, the other thumbs down.” In the gladiatorial contests of ancient Rome, a thumbs-up gesture from the crowd meant that the loser would live; thumbs down meant death.
An expression of approval or hopefulness, as in The town said thumbs up on building the elderly housing project. The antonym thumbs down indicates disapproval or rejection, as in Mother gave us thumbs down on serving beer at our party. Alluding to crowd signals used in Roman amphitheaters, these idioms were first recorded in English about 1600. In ancient times the meaning of the gestures was opposite that of today. Thumbs down indicated approval; thumbs up, rejection. Exactly when the reversal occurred is not known, but the present conventions were established by the early 1900s.