thumb Definition

the short, thick first digit of the human hand, set lower and apart from the other four and opposable to them.

Using thumb: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "thumb" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    He sucked his thumb when he was a child.

  • Example

    She hit her thumb with a hammer.

  • Example

    He gave me a thumbs-up sign.

  • Example

    She thumbed through the pages of the book.

thumb Synonyms and Antonyms

Synonyms for thumb

Phrases with thumb

  • a broadly accurate guide or principle, based on experience or practice rather than theory.


    As a rule of thumb, you should save at least 10% of your income for retirement.

  • a natural talent for gardening or growing plants successfully.


    My neighbor has a green thumb and her garden is always full of beautiful flowers.

  • to do nothing; to be idle or unoccupied.


    I've been twiddling my thumbs all day waiting for the phone to ring.


Summary: thumb in Brief

The word 'thumb' [θʌm] refers to the short, thick first digit of the human hand, which is set apart from the other fingers and is opposable to them. It is used in phrases like 'rule of thumb,' meaning a broadly accurate guide, and 'green thumb,' referring to a natural talent for gardening. 'Twiddle one's thumbs' means to do nothing or be idle.

How do native speakers use this expression?