Home » Dictionary » have fingertips

have fingertips

have fingertips
 v. phr.— «He had no fingertips as a politician and came off as a phony, even when he was perfectly sincere.» —“Back From the Dead” by Evan Thomas Newsweek Nov. 17, 2008. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 comment
  • Don’t have an earlier cite to offer, but it seems to me that’s practically a duty-free import into English of a German jawbreaker: fingerspitzengefuel (type that “ue” instead as “u” with an umlaut to be correct; approx. pronunciation: fing-ger-shpitz’en-guh-fewl), which literally means the ability to sense or feel through the fingertips, but metaphorically is used to mean subtle intuition. In the case instant, mightn’t one legitimately suspect that Evan Thomas simply forgot the German word but remembered the meaning? Equally plausible: perhaps Thomas used the German word but a copy editor thought to “correct” it, offering us instead the translated meaning, in hopes we’d muddle through somehow? Who can know?

Further reading

Scooter-Pooting (episode #1574)

Old. Elderly. Senior. Why are we so uncomfortable when we talk about reaching a certain point in life? An 82-year-old seeks a more positive term to describe how she feels about her age. And: a linguist helps solve a famous kidnapping case, using the...

Lasagna Hog (episode #1568)

Understanding the varieties of conversational styles can mean the difference between feeling you’re understood and being insulted. “High-involvement” speakers interrupt or talk along with someone else to signal their enthusiasm...