1. Solfeggio says:

    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?

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