Index finger  

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Plato (left) and Aristotle (right), a detail of The School of Athens, a fresco by Raphael. Aristotle gestures to the earth, representing his belief in knowledge through empirical observation and experience, while holding a copy of his Nicomachean Ethics in his hand. Plato holds his Timaeus and points his index finger to the heavens, representing his belief in The Forms
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Plato (left) and Aristotle (right), a detail of The School of Athens, a fresco by Raphael. Aristotle gestures to the earth, representing his belief in knowledge through empirical observation and experience, while holding a copy of his Nicomachean Ethics in his hand. Plato holds his Timaeus and points his index finger to the heavens, representing his belief in The Forms

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The index finger, (also referred to as forefinger, pointer finger, trigger finger, digitus secundus, digitus II is the first finger and the second digit of a human hand. It is located between the first and third digits, between the thumb and the middle finger. It is usually the most dextrous and sensitive finger of the hand, though not the longest – it is shorter than the middle finger, and may be shorter or longer than the ring finger – see digit ratio.

"Index finger" literally means "pointing finger", from the same Latin source as indicate; its anatomical names are either "index finger" or "second digit".

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Uses

A lone index finger held vertically is often used to represent the number 1, or when held up or moved side to side (finger-wagging), it can be an admonitory gesture. With the hand held palm out and the thumb and middle fingers touching, it represents the letter d in the American Sign Language alphabet. In sports, it can also represent victory, as some championship-winning teams raise their index finger (often saying "We're number one!") while posing for a championship team photo – oversized foam hands with a single upraised index are also used for this purpose; compare with the victory sign. For the vast majority of computer users, it is the finger most often used to click a mouse, as well as the finger used in the untrained 'hunt and peck' Typing style.

Pointing

pointing the index finger

Pointing with index finger may be used to indicate an item or person. Pointing one's index finger at a person is considered rude in certain cultures. A more polite way to indicate another person would be to raise a hand in their direction, as if holding a platter.

Around the age of one year, babies begin pointing to communicate relatively complex thoughts, including interest, desire, information, and more. Pointing in human babies can demonstrate the theory of mind, or ability to understand what other people are thinking. This gesture may form one basis for the development of human language. Non-human primates, lacking the ability to formulate ideas about what others are thinking, use pointing in much less complex ways.

See also

Reading




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Index finger" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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