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Etymology 1Edit

From thumb +‎ -y/-ie (diminutive suffix).


thumby (plural thumbies)

  1. (slang) A little thumb; diminutive term for thumb
See alsoEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From thumb +‎ -y.


thumby (comparative thumbier, superlative thumbiest)

  1. Clumsy, awkward, maladroit, not dextrous, all thumbs
    • 1896, Harriet Beecher Stowe, The Pearl of Orr's Island: A Story of the Coast of Maine, Boston & New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Chapter 29, [1]
      "Well, I don't tease anybody but the men. I don't tease father or mother or you,—but men are fair game; they are such thumby, blundering creatures, and we can confuse them so."
    • 1904, H.G. Wells, The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth, Book I, Chapter 1 [2]
      [] he was propounding an improvement of Professor Armstrong's Heuristic method, whereby at the cost of three or four hundred pounds' worth of apparatus, a total neglect of all other studies and the undivided attention of a teacher of exceptional gifts, an average child might with a peculiar sort of thumby thoroughness learn in the course of ten or twelve years almost as much chemistry as one could get in one of those objectionable shilling text-books that were then so common….
    • 1938, Xavier Herbert, Capricornia, New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1943, Chapter IX, p. 147-8, [3]
      The box was set down, the stiff buckles of its mildewed straps tackled by a dozen thumby hands, the lid hurled back.
    • 1983, Richard Schickel, Cary Grant: A Celebration, New York: Hachette, 2009, Chapter 1, [4]
      For as long as we have known him—and for most of us that has been for the lengths of our lifetimes—he has been the object of, and inspiration for, a delight so innocent and perfect that the attempt to analyse its sources seems an act of ingratitude, a laying on of thumby hands that will inevitably bollix the job.
    • 2006, Robert Schmuhl, In So Many Words: Arguments and Adventures, University of Notre Dame Press, p.160, [5]
      Some people are handy, but I am (no other word fits) thumby.
      The handy learn to master each moder machine as soon as it hits the market. The thumby never graduate beyond the self-service island at the gas station.
    • 2015, Julie Lawson, A Ribbon of Shining Steel: The Railway Diary of Kate Cameron, Yale, British Columbia, 1882, Dear Canada series, Scholastic Canada, [6]
      Rachel was all thumbs when it came to embroidery, even thumbier than me.
  2. Dirtied by thumb marks
    • 1914, H.G. Wells, Social Forces in England and America, New York & London: Harper & Bros., "The Philosopher's Public Library," p. 203, [7]
      He would distinguish, too, between a library and a news-room, and would find no great attraction in the prospect of supplying the national youth with free but thumby copies of the sixpenny magazines.