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Little finger

Little finger
Human hand with little finger extended
Latin digitus minimus manus, digitus quintus, digitus V
Artery ulnar artery
Nerve ulnar nerve
Lymph supratrochlear
Dorlands/Elsevier d_18/12296668

The little finger, often called the pinky in American English and pinkie in Scottish English (from the Dutch word pink, meaning little finger), is the most ulnar and usually smallest finger of the human hand, opposite the thumb, next to the ring finger. It is also called the anti-thumb, the fifth finger, the baby finger, or the fourth finger colloquially.



There are four muscles that control the little finger, three of which comprise a group called the hypothenar eminence :

  • hypothenar eminence
    • Opponens digiti minimi muscle
    • Abductor minimi digiti muscle (adduction from third palmar interossei)
    • Flexor digiti minimi brevis (the "longus" is absent in most humans)
  • Extensor digiti minimi muscle

Cultural significance


A pinky swear or pinky promise is made when a person wraps one of their pinky fingers around the other person's pinky and makes a promise. Traditionally, it's considered binding, and the idea was originally that the person who breaks the promise must cut off his pinky finger. In a similar vein, among members of the Japanese yakuza (gangsters), the penalty for various offenses is removal of parts of the little finger (known as yubitsume).

Also in Japan, holding up a pinky while speaking of two people signifies that they are in a relationship. This pinky substitution is considered vulgar and old-fashioned, however, in some anime scenes is intentionally used to enhance its silliness.

In China, if one holds up a little finger at another, it is usually considered vulgar, just as holding up a middle finger in the United States and other countries is generally regarded as offensive.

In India, holding up the little finger is also a signal of "katti" or a broken friendship, a sign that someone is angry, or a playful suggestion that the person flashing the pinky is not going to speak to you.

In India, holding up the pinky is a signal that the person has to urinate.

Similarly, in Indonesia, when a man points his pinky finger downward it is a signal that he needs to urinate.

In Turkey, it's tradition to link pinky fingers when two people are making a bet.

In Judaism, it is customary to extend one's arm and pinky finger to the Torah as it is lifted following its reading in the Synagogue.

The Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority holds their pinky finger in the air as a (Greek) greeting to their fellow sisters.

In Russia, when two people are French-kissing, it is customary to often link pinky fingers together.

In some Western cultures, the wriggling or bending of the little finger indicates a small penis, an insult to the person whom it is directed at.


In the United States the Engineer's Ring is a stainless steel ring worn on the fifth finger of the working hand by engineers that belong to the Order of the Engineerand have accepted the Obligation of an Engineer.

The Iron Ring is a symbolic ring worn by some Canadian engineers. The Ring is a symbol of both pride and humility for the engineering profession, and is always worn on the little finger of the dominant hand.

Signet rings are often worn on the little finger.


In the Balkans, a solitary long fingernail on the pinky finger of a man signifies that he is single. In Bulgaria, a long fingernail on the pinky finger is considered "fashion" by working-class men.


    See also

    Additional images

    This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Little_finger". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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