phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

To put on the long finger

Posted by Shae on February 24, 2003

In Reply to: To put on the long finger posted by ESC on February 24, 2003

: : while most people agree on the meaning of this phrase, I am curious to know if anyone can fill me in on the origin of it....

: I've never heard the expression (I live in the U.S.). What does it mean and how is it used?

It means "to postpone something indefinitely." It is in common usage here in Ireland and, according to one website, is an Irish colloquialism, which I hadn't realised. "Méar fada" is Irish for "middle finger." The Dictionary of Hiberno-English has: "on the méar fhada," postponed indefinitely. 'Fraid I have absolutely no idea why it has this meaning.