phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Pull your finger out

Posted by Smokey Stoverf on March 25, 2006

In Reply to: Pull your finger out posted by David FG on March 25, 2006

: : : : : Does anyone know where the phrase "pull your finger out" came from?
: : : : : I've got a nice idea that it came from a finger trap but it would be nice if it was true.

: : : :
: : : : I've never heard that phrase used other than literally. Yes, I know I'm very naive, but what is the meaning you have in mind? Or perhaps someone else can enlighten me. SS

: : : It's a really long stretch, but could this be a metaphorical reference to the story of Hans Brinker, the Dutch boy who stopped a leak in the dyke by putting his finger in the hole? ?SS?

: : Smokey, I think you want the other spelling: "dike." And, no, the slang phrase alludes to a hole, all right, but an anatomical one.

: I am relying on memory here, so the details are probably a bit hazy, but I seem to remember a few years ago this phrase was heavily criticized on the BBC for being 'sexist' - due to its supposed sexual origin (as alluded to above). I have serious doubts about this: it strikes me that there are more likely activities involving fingers that would prevent one working than their deployment in an orifice.

: (How's that for pre-watershed circumlocution?)


It's excellent. In fact, I didn't understand it one damn bit. As for dyke/dike, I do know the difference, but I was momentarily caught off guard by the fact that my source for Hans Brinker used the spelling dyke. Now--inquiring minds want to know. What about the finger? SS