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Thread: fingers / toes

  1. #1
    alikim is offline Junior Member
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    Default fingers / toes

    Is it OK to say that "a human has 20 fingers" or you need to specify that "a human has 10 fingers and 10 toes"?

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    Default Re: fingers / toes

    Quote Originally Posted by alikim View Post
    Is it OK to say that "a human has 20 fingers" or you need to specify that "a human has 10 fingers and 10 toes"?
    A human doesn't have 20 fingers. You can say that a human has 20 digits, or 20 phalanges. But a toe isn't a finger. And a finger isn't a toe - though in lesser mammals, we call the analogous structures 'toes'. Eg. a cat has 18 toes.

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    Default Re: fingers / toes

    We can also sub-divide the digits on the hand. We have ten fingers; if we refer to them individually, we call the opposable digit on each hand the thumb.

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    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: fingers / toes

    I think "dactyl" means that too, but I have no idea if and how often it's used .

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    Default Re: fingers / toes

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    I think "dactyl" means that too, but I have no idea if and how often it's used .
    I am not sure that it does, other than in compounds such as pterodactyl - 'wing-finger'. The COD gives only the metrical foot definition.

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    Default Re: fingers / toes

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I am not sure that it does, other than in compounds such as pterodactyl - 'wing-finger'. The COD gives only the metrical foot definition.
    AHD lists the meaning: dactyl - definition of dactyl by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.

    I've never heard or seen it in this meaning. Knowing the Greek root, I thought it could be a word in English too and looked it up.

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    Default Re: fingers / toes

    I was trying to find out if it's used and couldn't find any usage related to humans. This is the only non-lexicographic occurence I have spotted.

    Pereiopods 3 and 4 with visible distal elements
    (Fig. 1A). Merus oval-shaped, hind margin with 2-3 setae; carpus slightly shorter than propodus, also with several
    postero-marginal setae; propodus comparatively long, with
    2 short setae on anterior margin and 6-7 pairs of setae on
    the posterior margin; dactyls comparatively robust, with
    strong apical nail, inner margins with 3-5 spinifirm setae
    (Figs. 2B, C).
    (http://biol-chem.uwb.edu.pl/IP/POL/B...azkupr2010.pdf)

    Doesn't seem very useful, does it...

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    alikim is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: fingers / toes

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    But a toe isn't a finger. And a finger isn't a toe.
    Well, it was a linguistic question, not biological.

    Biological terminology depends on language, in some languages fingers and toes are always called "fingers", in this sense toe is a finger and vice versa, so I was just curious how the things are in English.

    Thanks!

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