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#1120 - 04/04/00 07:56 AM pinkie
jmh Offline

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
When I lived in England I had never heard the word pinkie for little finger. I discovered it in American books and on television doctor dramas.

Now I'm in Edinburgh everyone here seems to say pinkie and never "little finger". In the same way that people say when I was "wee" and never when I was “small”.Is "pinkie" used by everyone in the USA or just by some, if so, is it a regional variation or is it only used as a diminutive when speaking to children?

#1121 - 04/04/00 05:32 PM Re: pinkie
cormicanshack Offline

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 9
Loc: yorkshire uk
I similarly had never heard the term until I met and married a Glaswegian. I have never known an English person to use the term. Interested to hear if it is used in America.

#1122 - 04/05/00 02:05 PM Re: pinkie
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10538
Loc: this too shall pass
It's fairly common here in the colonies. My unabridged says that it probably stems from the Dutch word pinkje which itself is a dim. of pink which means 'little finger'.

#1123 - 04/07/00 04:42 AM Re: pinkie
jmh Offline

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
That is very interesting because I notice a close affinity between Edinburgh and Holland. It is often expressed through architecture. Edinburgh and Glasgow have a great number of purpose built flats (tenaments) which are much more common in Northern Europe than in English Cities. The step gables that can be seen on Dutch roofs are called "crow steps" here (and crows do seem to like to climb them). Culross in Fife on the Forth of Forth dates back to 1597 and the Dutch influence on the architecture, probably because of visiting Dutch traders arriving by boat is very obvious. So the word could well have arrived by boat and was adopted along with the architecture. I'm sure there may be a more "academic" explanation. I wonder if there are other Dutch words which were adopted by Scotland but not England.


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