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Nov 5, 2019
This week’s theme
Words originating in the hand

This week’s words
glad hand
fingerpost
chirocracy
bareknuckle
manumission

fingerpost
A fingerpost in Rushton, Cheshire, UK
Photo: Jeff Buck

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

fingerpost

PRONUNCIATION:
(FING-guhr-post)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A post with one or more signs pointing toward one or more places.
2. Something or someone serving as a guide.

ETYMOLOGY:
From the resemblance of the sign to the fingers of a hand. Earliest documented use: 1738.

NOTES:
A fingerpost is a post with long thin boards pointing toward various locations. These boards may look like fingers on a hand, hence the name. Sometimes these boards actually terminate in a pointing finger. The Oxford English Dictionary lists another sense of the word fingerpost: a parson or a member of the clergy. As this citation from the A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1785 tells it:
“Finger post, a parson, so called, because like the finger post, he points out a way he probably will never go, i.e. the way to heaven.”

USAGE:
“The title [of the poem] isn’t a hint or a fingerpost so much as the Reader’s Digest condensed version.”
William Logan; Shelley’s Wrinkled Lip, Smith’s Gigantic Leg; Parnassus: Poetry in Review (New York); 2011.

See more usage examples of fingerpost in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men. -Ella Wheeler Wilcox, poet (5 Nov 1850-1919)

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