Your fingers is defined, by the dictionary on my phone, as:

Your fingers are the long thin parts at the end of each hand, sometimes also including the thumb.

But according to Collins dictionary:

Your fingers are the four long thin parts at the end of each hand.

So, I am wondering if your fingers indeed include the thumb or not? If yes, under what circumstances it does?


This is a pretty divisive thing: some native speakers of English believe that the thumb is a finger and others do not. In this informal internet poll, 58% of people said that the thumb is a finger, and 42% say it is not. That site also includes the arguments people have for each side.

My perspective on this is that it's so much longer to say "four fingers and thumb" and alternatives such as "digits" are too formal, so I include the thumb when I say "fingers". The exception to this would be if I'm describing something where the thumb is doing something different than the other four fingers (for example, a gesture made by putting the four fingers on each hand together and doing nothing with the thumbs).

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  • I'm curious how native speakers response to the question "How many fingers do you have?", 8 or 10? – dan Aug 4 '18 at 4:39
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    @dan Yeah some people will answer 8 (as you can see here). When I was a child I remember some kids would ask how many fingers they're holding up, I'd answer, then they'd say I'm wrong because thumbs aren't fingers (because kids just love proving each other wrong, especially when it's something that seems like there's only one correct answer). – Laurel Aug 4 '18 at 4:46
  • @Laurel, that kid just wanted to punch you, whichever way you answered. – The Photon Aug 4 '18 at 21:47

In general, everybody has five fingers on each hand. Just as everybody has five toes on each foot.

However, a distinction can be made between the thumb and the (other) fingers. Depending on how you view it, a thumb is a particular type of finger—or it's not a finger at all. But I think you would only view it as something other than a finger if you wanted to specifically distinguish it from the others.

Also, consider how they are named: thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, and little (or pinkie) finger. You actually only have one of each.

Analogously, you could make a distinction between four toes and one big toe.

In the case of both fingers and toes, you can also use the word digit. That word makes no distinction between any of them.

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