# Digit vs. Finger — What's the Difference?

By Fiza Rafique & Maham Liaqat — Updated on April 20, 2024
Digit refers to both fingers and toes anatomically, used in numerical and positional contexts, while "finger" specifically denotes the appendages extending from the hand.

## Key Differences

A digit in anatomical terms encompasses both fingers and toes, providing a broad classification useful in medical and biological contexts. On the other hand, the term "finger" specifically refers to the digits located on the hands, used primarily for manipulation and sensation.
In the context of counting and mathematics, "digit" also refers to the numbers 0 through 9, fundamental in numerical systems. Whereas "finger" lacks this numerical association and strictly pertains to physical anatomy.
The word "digit" has a linguistic flexibility, appearing in contexts ranging from anatomy to technology, indicating discrete elements like numbers or symbols. Conversely, "finger" is almost exclusively used in a physical or colloquial context, such as pointing or indicating direction.
Culturally, digits (fingers and toes) are often counted in many educational and recreational activities, emphasizing their role in basic arithmetic learning. On the other hand, fingers are specifically highlighted in activities that require fine motor skills, like writing or playing musical instruments.
In technology, the term "digital" derives from "digit," signifying a connection with numbers or fingers, as in digital technology that mimics the operation of fingers. However, "finger" is used more literally in phrases like "fingerprint," denoting the unique patterns on the fingertips.

## Comparison Chart

### Definition

Refers to both fingers and toes; also numerical digits
Specifically the appendages on the hand

### Usage in Mathematics

Used to describe numbers 0-9
Not used in mathematical contexts

### Linguistic Flexibility

Appears in various contexts including technology
Generally limited to physical and colloquial uses

### Related Terms

Digital, digitization
Fingertip, fingerprint

### Cultural Significance

Counted in both educational and technological contexts
Essential in activities requiring manual dexterity

## Compare with Definitions

#### Digit

In computing, a single symbol of a numeral system.
Binary digits are essential for digital communications.

#### Finger

A part of a glove designed to cover one finger.
She mended the hole in the finger of her glove.

#### Digit

Any of the numerals from 0 to 9, especially when forming part of a number.
The number 145 consists of three digits.

#### Finger

To identify or point out someone typically accused of wrongdoing.
The witness fingered the suspect in a lineup.

#### Digit

Any of the fingers or toes.
The thumb is the shortest digit on the human hand.

#### Finger

The length or width of a finger used as an informal measure.
Pour a finger of whiskey into the glass.

#### Digit

An element of a set in mathematical contexts.
In set theory, a digit can represent any discrete element.

#### Finger

To touch or handle with the fingers.
She fingered the fabric to test its texture.

#### Digit

A unit of measurement for the width of a finger (about 3/4 inch).
Ancient builders sometimes used the digit as a small unit of length.

#### Finger

A finger is a limb of the human body and a type of digit, an organ of manipulation and sensation found in the hands of humans and other primates. Normally humans have five digits, the bones of which are termed phalanges, on each hand, although some people have more or fewer than five due to congenital disorders such as polydactyly or oligodactyly, or accidental or intentional amputations.

#### Digit

A human finger or toe.

#### Finger

One of the five digits of the hand, especially one other than the thumb.

#### Digit

A corresponding part in other vertebrates.

#### Finger

The part of a glove designed to cover a finger.

#### Digit

A unit of length derived from the breadth of a finger and equal to about 34 of an inch (2.0 centimeters).

#### Finger

Something, such as an oblong peninsula, that resembles one of the digits of the hand.

#### Digit

One of the ten Arabic number symbols, 0 through 9.

#### Finger

The length or width of a finger.

#### Digit

Such a symbol used in a system of numeration.

#### Finger

A degree of participation; a share
"seems almost sure to have a finger or two in crafting the final blueprint" (George B. Merry).

#### Digit

Digits Slang A telephone number
She gave me her digits, and I put them in my phone.

#### Finger

An obscene gesture of defiance or derision made by pointing or jabbing the middle finger upward. Often used with the.

#### Digit

(mathematics) The whole numbers from 0 to 9 and the Arabic numerals representing them, which are combined to represent base-ten numbers.
The number 123.4 has four digits: the hundreds digit is 1, the tens digit is 2, the units digit is 3, and the tenths digit is 4.

#### Finger

To touch with the fingers; handle.

#### Digit

(mathematics) A distinct symbol representing one of an arithmetic progression of numbers between 0 and the radix.
Hexadecimal numeration (Base sixteen) includes the digits 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 but also A (=10 decimal), B, C, D, E, and F. Sixteen itself is written as the two-digit number 10.

#### Finger

To mark (a score) with indications of which fingers are to play the notes.

#### Digit

The apparent diameter of the sun or moon, (chiefly) as a measure of the totality of an eclipse.
A six-digit eclipse covers half the lunar surface.

#### Finger

To play (an instrument) by using the fingers in a particular order or way.

Syn of inch.

#### Finger

To identify as responsible for wrongdoing or a crime, especially to the police
Fingered the sales clerk as the thief.

#### Digit

(anatomy) A narrow extremity of the human hand or foot: a finger, thumb, or toe.

#### Finger

To identify or designate as being responsible
"An international team of scientists fingered [the fungus] as the culprit in die-offs of 19 amphibian species" (Science News).

#### Digit

(zoology) Similar or similar-looking structures in other animals.

#### Finger

To handle something with the fingers.

#### Digit

Syn of degreeof a circle.

#### Finger

(Music) To use the fingers in playing an instrument.

#### Digit

(transitive) To point at or point out with the finger.

#### Finger

(anatomy) A slender jointed extremity of the human hand, (often) exclusive of the thumb.
Humans have two hands and ten fingers. Each hand has one thumb and four fingers.

#### Digit

One of the terminal divisions of a limb appendage; a finger or toe.
The ruminants have the "cloven foot," i. e., two hoofed digits on each foot.

#### Finger

(zoology) Similar or similar-looking extremities in other animals, particularly:

#### Digit

A finger's breadth, commonly estimated to be three fourths of an inch.

#### Finger

The lower, smaller segment of an arthropod claw.

#### Digit

One of the ten figures or symbols, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, by which all numbers are expressed; - so called because of the use of the fingers in counting and computing.

#### Finger

One of the supporting structures of wings in birds, bats, etc. evolved from earlier toes or fingers.

#### Digit

One twelfth part of the diameter of the sun or moon; - a term used to express the quantity of an eclipse; as, an eclipse of eight digits is one which hides two thirds of the diameter of the disk.

#### Finger

One of the slender bony structures before the pectoral fins of gurnards and sea robins (Triglidae).

#### Digit

To point at or out with the finger.

#### Finger

Something similar in shape to the human finger, particularly:

#### Digit

One of the elements that collectively form a system of numbers;
0 and 1 are digits

#### Finger

(cuisine) Finger-shaped pieces of food.
Chocolate fingers; fish fingers; cheese fingers

#### Digit

The length of breadth of a finger used as a linear measure

#### Finger

(chemistry) A tube extending from a sealed system, or sometimes into one in the case of a cold finger.

#### Digit

A finger or toe in human beings or corresponding part in other vertebrates

#### Finger

Syn of foxglove(D. purpurea).

#### Finger

Something similarly extending, (especially) from a larger body, particularly:
A finger of land; a finger of smoke

#### Finger

(botany) Various protruding plant structures, as a banana from its hand.

#### Finger

A lobe of the liver.

#### Finger

(historical) The teeth parallel to the blade of a scythe, fitted to a wooden frame called a crade.

#### Finger

The projections of a reaper or mower which similarly separate the stalks for cutting.

#### Finger

(nautical) finger pier: a shorter, narrower pier projecting from a larger dock.

#### Finger

(aviation) jet bridge: the narrow elevated walkway connecting a plane to an airport.

#### Finger

(comptheory) A leaf in a finger tree data structure.

#### Finger

Something similar in function or agency to the human finger, (usually) with regard to touching, grasping, or pointing.

#### Finger

(obsolete) hand, the part of a clock pointing to the hour, minute, or second.

#### Finger

A policeman or prison guard.

#### Finger

An informer to the police, (especially) one who identifies a criminal during a lineup.

#### Finger

A criminal who scouts for prospective victims and targets or who performs reconnaissance before a crime.

#### Finger

(figurative) That which points; an indicator, as of guilt, blame, or suspicion.
The finger of suspicion pointed clearly at the hotel manager.

#### Finger

(historical) digitcm).

#### Finger

(historical) digit the observed diameter of the sun or moon, (especially) with regard to eclipses.

#### Finger

An informal measure of alcohol based on its height in a given glass compared to the width of the pourer's fingers while holding it.
Gimme three fingers of bourbon.

#### Finger

(fashion) A part of a glove intended to cover a finger.

#### Finger

Skill in the use of the fingers, as in playing upon a musical instrument.

#### Finger

Someone skilled in the use of their fingers, (especially) a pickpocket.

A person.

#### Finger

(especially in the phrase 'give someone the finger') An obscene or insulting gesture made by raising one's middle finger towards someone with the palm of one's hand facing inwards.

#### Finger

(transitive) To identify or point out; to blame for something.

#### Finger

(transitive) To report to or identify for the authorities; to inform on.

#### Finger

(transitive) To poke, probe, feel, or fondle with a finger or fingers.

#### Finger

To use specified finger positions in producing notes on a musical instrument.

#### Finger

To provide instructions in written music as to which fingers are to be used to produce particular notes or passages.

#### Finger

To query (a user's status) using the Finger protocol.

#### Finger

(obsolete) To steal; to purloin.

#### Finger

To execute, as any delicate work.

#### Finger

One of the five terminating members of the hand; a digit; esp., one of the four extremities of the hand, other than the thumb.

#### Finger

Anything that does the work of a finger; as, the pointer of a clock, watch, or other registering machine;

#### Finger

The breadth of a finger, or the fourth part of the hand; a measure of nearly an inch; also, the length of finger, a measure in domestic use in the United States, of about four and a half inches or one eighth of a yard.
A piece of steel three fingers thick.

#### Finger

Skill in the use of the fingers, as in playing upon a musical instrument.
She has a good finger.

#### Finger

To touch with the fingers; to handle; to meddle with.
Let the papers lie;You would be fingering them to anger me.

#### Finger

To touch lightly; to toy with.

#### Finger

To perform on an instrument of music.

#### Finger

To take thievishly; to pilfer; to purloin.

#### Finger

To execute, as any delicate work.

#### Finger

To use the fingers in playing on an instrument.

#### Finger

Any of the terminal members of the hand (sometimes excepting the thumb);
Her fingers were long and thin

#### Finger

The length of breadth of a finger used as a linear measure

#### Finger

The part of a glove that provides a covering for one of the fingers

#### Finger

Feel or handle with the fingers;
Finger the binding of the book

#### Finger

Examine by touch;
Feel this soft cloth!
The customer fingered the sweater

#### Finger

Search for on the computer;
I fingered my boss and found that he is not logged on in the afternoons

#### Finger

Indicate the fingering for the playing of musical scores for keyboard instruments

## Common Curiosities

#### What is the primary function of fingers?

Fingers primarily function to manipulate objects and facilitate fine motor skills.

#### How are fingers numbered in medical contexts?

In medical contexts, fingers are often numbered starting from the thumb (digit I) to the little finger (digit V).

#### How many digits does a human typically have?

A typical human has 20 digits: ten fingers and ten toes.

#### Are there any animals without digits?

Yes, some animals, like certain species of snakes and fish, lack digits.

#### Can the term "digit" be used in digital technology?

Yes, "digit" relates to numbers and discrete units in technology, such as digital encoding.

#### What are digits?

Digits can refer to any of the fingers or toes, and also to the numbers 0 through 9 in mathematical contexts.

#### What is the significance of the thumb as a finger?

The thumb is significant for its opposability, crucial for gripping and manipulating objects.

#### How does the cultural significance of digits differ from that of fingers?

Digits have a broad cultural significance, including in educational and technological fields, while fingers are specifically significant in manual and artistic activities.

#### What is a fingerprint?

A fingerprint is the unique pattern of ridges and valleys on the tip of a finger, used for identification.

#### Is the term "finger" used in mathematics?

No, the term "finger" is not typically used in mathematical contexts.

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