Parts of the Hand Vocabulary in English

Here are 7 words associated with the hand:


little finger / pinky (noun): the smallest finger on the hand. Pinky is an informal name for the little finger.

Example sentence with little finger:

  • He always raises his little finger when he drinks a cup of tea.

Another example is:

  • They did a pinky promise to always keep what they did a secret.

A pinky promise is when two people touch their pinkies to signify an unbreakable promise has been made. Sometimes it is called pinky swear.

Another expression is to wrap someone around your little finger. This means you have gained control over someone and you can get them to do anything you want.

  • Unfortunately the girl has her parents wrapped around her little finger as she does what she wants and gets away with everything.

What? You wanted me to mention that Little finger is also a character in Game of Thrones? Nah, I’m not going to do that.


ring finger (noun): the finger that is next to the little finger. It has this name because this is the finger on which a wedding ring is traditionally worn.

Example sentence with ring finger:

  • He gently slid the engagement ring onto her ring finger.


middle finger (noun): this is typically the longest finger that is in the middle of the hand and the other fingers.

Example sentence with middle finger:

  • I fractured my middle finger while playing football.

It is considered an insult when you only show your middle finger towards someone. And since we are such wonderful human beings we don’t do that type of vulgar thing.


index finger (noun): The first finger next to your thumb. It is sometimes called the forefinger. You can use the index finger to point, to press things, to pick your nose… it has many uses.

Example sentence with index finger:

  • The children had to raise their index finger into the air before they could speak in class.
    (Yes, it’s an old-fashioned school)


thumb (noun): the thick digit that is set lower and apart from the four fingers. A thumb is different from a finger in that a thumb only has one joint, while a finger has two joints.

Example sentence with thumb:

  • Babies often suck their thumbs.

When you give a thumbs up, it means you approve of something.
When you give a thumbs down, it is the opposite and means you do NOT approve of something.


fingernail (noun): the thin hard area at the top end of a finger. Many times they are just called nails.

Example sentence with fingernail:

  • He bites his fingernails when he is nervous.

The ones on you feet are not fingernails, they are called toenails.
Do you bite your nails?

What do some people put on their fingernails? Nail polish
Nail polish is a type of colored liquid that is painted on fingernails and toenails.


knuckles (noun): the joints that connect fingers to the rest of the hand. The joint of the knuckle allows me to move my finger up and down.

Example sentence with knuckles:

  • His knuckles turned white as he held the steering wheel tightly.

Some people crack their knuckles which means to move you fingers in a way that the knuckles make a noise.

Do you know what a knuckle sandwich is?
Sometimes one brother says to another brother… do you want a knuckle sandwich? This means…. do you want me to punch you in the mouth (with my knuckles)?
Don’t do this at home kids…. when your parents are looking. 🙂

Extra vocabulary

Wrist (noun): The joint between the hand and the arm.

  • She is wearing a bracelet on her wrist.

Palm (noun): the inner surface of the hand that is between the wrist and the fingers.

  • The fortune teller reads the palm of the hand to tell you all about your future… or what you want to hear.

Fist (noun): a person’s hand when the fingers are curled in towards the palm and held there tightly. This is typically done when someone wants to hit someone or something.

  • He quickly made a fist to get ready to defend himself.

Summary Chart

Parts of the Hand in English - ESOL Vocabulary

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