Finger (unit)

A finger (sometimes fingerbreadth or finger's breadth) is any of several units of measurement that are approximately the width of an adult human finger, including:

Some hand-based measurements, including the finger (5)

The digit, also known as digitus or digitus transversus (Latin), dactyl (Greek) or dactylus, or finger's breadth — 34 of an inch or 116 of a foot.[1][2]

In medicine and related disciplines (anatomy, radiology, etc.) the fingerbreadth (literally the width of a finger) is an informal but widely used unit of measure.[3][4]

In the measurement of distilled spirits, a finger of whiskey refers to the amount of whiskey that would fill a glass to the level of one finger wrapped around the glass at the bottom.[5][6][7]

Another definition (from Noah Webster): "nearly an inch."[8][9]

Finger is also the name of a longer unit of length used in cloth measurement, specifically, one eighth of a yard or 412 inches.[8][10]

In English these units have mostly fallen out of use,[citation needed][by whom?] apart from the common use in distilled drinks and drinking games.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Noah Webster; John Walker (1830). American dictionary of the English language. digit: Converse. p. 247. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  2. ^ Ronald Edward Zupko (1985). A dictionary of weights and measures for the British Isles: the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. American Philosophical Society. pp. 109–10. ISBN 978-0-87169-168-2. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  3. ^ The American Journal of the Medical Sciences. Charles B. Slack. 1839. p. 363. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  4. ^ David V. Skinner (28 April 1997). Cambridge textbook of accident and emergency medicine. Cambridge University Press. p. 1209. ISBN 978-0-521-43379-2. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  5. ^ University chronicle. 1858. p. 187. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  6. ^ Bret Harte (1899). "A Jack and Jill of the Sierras". McClure's magazine. S.S. McClure Co. p. 230. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  7. ^ Harvard Student Agencies, Inc.; Harvard Student Agencies (15 January 2000). The official Harvard Student Agencies bartending course. Macmillan. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-312-25286-1. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  8. ^ a b Noah Webster (1896). Webster's collegiate dictionary. G. & C. Merriam. p. 332. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  9. ^ William Markham (1739). A general introduction to trade and business: or, The young merchant's and tradesman's magazine ... A. Bettesworth and C. Hitch. p. 104. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  10. ^ The Encyclopedia Americana. Encyclopedia Americana Corp. 1920. p. 165. Retrieved 14 January 2012.