In Urban dictionary (a slang dictionary)

They say

pinky swear

An eternally binding act of hooking pinky fingers together in an attempt to seal the deal of a promise that has been made.

I promise to never do that again!

Do you pinky swear?

In Wikipedia, they also say

To pinky swear, or to make a pinky promise, is a traditional gesture most commonly practiced amongst children involving the locking of the pinkies of two people to signify that a promise has been made

For example, each time my daughter wants to watch TV, she and I often agree that I allow her to watch TV for 10 minutes only.

Is it correct for me to say to her "do we pinky swear?" or "do we have a pinky swear?" before we hook our little fingers together as an action of agreement?

  • 2
    I've seen the action, but not heard the phrase because we call it the 'little finger' in British English. Dec 13, 2020 at 9:08
  • 2
    If "pinky swearing" is understood by your daughter then maybe you should ask "Shall we pinky swear?" or perhaps "We must {or need to} pinky swear ...". On the other hand, any kind of swearing sounds excessive for ten minutes of TV.
    – AdrianHHH
    Dec 13, 2020 at 9:52
  • I believe the most natural phrasing would simply be something like "Just 10 minutes, OK...pinky swear?"
    – legatrix
    Dec 13, 2020 at 12:32

1 Answer 1


“to pinky swear” is a phrasal verb, and I would analyze it as “pinky” being an adverb since it specifies how we swear (the action).

The noun form would be “a pinky promise”, with “pinky” being a noun adjunct that specifies what form of promise.

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