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Thumb   /θəm/   Listen
Thumb

verb
(past & past part. thumbed; pres. part. thumbing)
1.
Travel by getting free rides from motorists.  Synonyms: hitch, hitchhike.
2.
Look through a book or other written material.  Synonyms: flick, flip, leaf, riff, riffle.  "She leafed through the volume"
3.
Feel or handle with the fingers.  Synonym: finger.



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"Thumb" Quotes from Famous Books



... adventure; at which I laughed heartily, and then his countenance cleared up. 'My dear soul (said he) when I saw a sort of a wild baist, snarling with open mouth at the Master of the Ceremonies, like the red cow going to devour Tom Thumb, I could do no less than go to the assistance of the little man; but I never dreamt the baist was one of Mrs Bramble's attendants — O! if I had, he might have made his breakfast upon Derrick and welcome — But you know, my dear friend, how natural it is for us Irishmen to blunder, and to ...
— The Expedition of Humphry Clinker • Tobias Smollett

... courtyard, and descended the stairs through the hole in the floor of the cupola-covered stone platform. And there stood the lingam on its altar at the foot of the stairs, and there were the doors just as we had left them, looking as if they had been pressed into the molten stone by an enormous thumb. I thought we were going to be able to prove something of our ...
— Caves of Terror • Talbot Mundy

... nationality in Europe bristles with difficulties. It cannot be solved by theory and rule of thumb. What is a nation? Shall it be determined by speech, by blood, by geographical boundary, by historic tradition? The freedom and independence of a country can and ever should be assured when with one voice it demands the same. It is ...
— New York Times Current History; The European War, Vol 2, No. 5, August, 1915 • Various

... to look trouble in the face, and he returned to his father not so thoroughly in the spirit of a specious gaiety. It did him good, though, to see the colonel's fingers close on the old pipe, with a motion of the thumb, indicating a resumed habit, caressing a smooth, warm boss. The colonel soberly but luxuriously lighted up, and they sat and puffed a while in silence. Jeffrey drew up a chair for his father's feet ...
— The Prisoner • Alice Brown

... hailed the other boats, and the detectives returned to the barge. A light thrown into the tiny cabin disclosed amid the disorder an open kit-bag full of linen. Green pulled out the top shirt and felt its texture between thumb and finger. Then he pointed to the name of a West-end maker ...
— The Grell Mystery • Frank Froest

... The boy put his thumb to the end of his nose, and twirled his fingers, saying, "You can't gammon us, my buck; come, out with it, for we ...
— The Runaway - The Adventures of Rodney Roverton • Unknown

... he knew concerning the farm and the land and the crops, and taught me not by rule of thumb, but showed me the why and wherefore of things, and opened the eyes of my understanding to notice the little things of nature as well as the great, which many people, I have found, pass all through their lives without ever seeing ...
— Carette of Sark • John Oxenham

... pride of one who had moved men like pawns across the checker-board of life and death. "The two cases afford no parallel. Ann and Terry have remained in the social stations to which they were born, while I—I stand outside all such ready-made, rule of thumb classifications. By sheer impetus of personality I have lifted myself out of the rut, so that not even you, with all your omniscience, dare prophesy how far I am going ...
— The Kingdom Round the Corner - A Novel • Coningsby Dawson

... became that their actions were linked up somehow with his own investigations. Why not? The girl had spied upon Podmore, who was in league with Nickleby; she had dealings with Jimmy Stiles who, according to Nathaniel Lawson, was very much under Nickleby's thumb. There was enough Nickleby mixed up in it for all sorts of possibilities. He wondered what Podmore knew ...
— Every Man for Himself • Hopkins Moorhouse

... Phillips, on his return, as she looked lingeringly at his shapely thumb above the edge of the plate. "Come, we will sit down together on this sofa, and you shall tell me all about yourself." She looked admiringly at his blue serge knees as he settled down into place. They were slightly bony, perhaps; "but then," as she told herself, "he is still ...
— Bertram Cope's Year • Henry Blake Fuller

... her mind very suddenly, when a note from Miss Mewlstone reached her. A gardener's boy brought it: "it was very particular, and was to be delivered immediate to the young lady," he observed, holding the missive between a very grimy finger and thumb. ...
— Not Like Other Girls • Rosa N. Carey

... Observer, holding up two "bunches of fives," whose digits were stained near the ends with some dark brown substance, "that's pyrogallic acid—and that burn near my thumb was made by Blitz Pulver. It wouldn't take a Sherlock Holmes to discover that I had ...
— Said the Observer • Louis J. Stellman

... Since then I have developed my powers of observation, but at that time I was a novice. The small card-room seemed undisturbed. I looked for footprints, which is, I believe, the conventional thing to do, although my experience has been that as clues both footprints and thumb-marks are more useful in fiction than in fact. But the stairs ...
— The Circular Staircase • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... in the well threw the leg across the cellar, and turned swiftly to go down into the well; but the officers were too quick for him, and had him out in a twinkling. Whilst they held him, dripping upon the floor, the inspector jerked his thumb in the direction of the offending leg, and the landlord, having harpooned it with one of the pitchforks, ran with it upstairs and so ...
— Carnacki, The Ghost Finder • William Hope Hodgson

... members of the University still hold the hand of one of their candidates, though the custom of separate presentation has been abolished; there was an intermediate stage fifty years ago, when the number of those who could be presented at once was limited to five; each of them held a finger or a thumb ...
— The Oxford Degree Ceremony • Joseph Wells

... knead kneel knew knife knit knuckle knock knot know knowledge lamb latch laugh limb listen match might muscle naughty night notch numb often palm pitcher pitch pledge ridge right rough scene scratch should sigh sketch snatch soften stitch switch sword talk though through thought thumb tough twitch thigh walk watch whole witch would write written wrapper wring wrong wrung wrote ...
— The Art Of Writing & Speaking The English Language - Word-Study and Composition & Rhetoric • Sherwin Cody

... the clavichord, in which it may have been largely the creation of the player. It is, therefore, not surprising that the first revolution in technique of which we hear was accomplished by Bach, who, the better to bring out the characteristics of his polyphonic style, made use of the thumb, till then considered almost a useless member of the hand in playing, and bent his fingers, so that their movements might be ...
— How to Listen to Music, 7th ed. - Hints and Suggestions to Untaught Lovers of the Art • Henry Edward Krehbiel

... brief history of her life. Unless we are prepared to believe that an ignorant old mulatto woman was gifted by divine Providence with supernatural power, constituted a second Witch of Endor, and able by "examining the ball of Josephine's left thumb with great attention," to discover the minute particulars of her future life, we must discredit the absurdity. A prediction believed sometimes effects its own fulfillment; and Josephine, whose ambition seems to have been most ardent, may have been inspired ...
— Graham's Magazine, Vol. XXXII No. 4, April 1848 • Various

... ony great man glunch an' gloom? Speak out, an' never fash your thumb! Let posts an' pensions sink or soom Wi' them wha grant them; If honestly they canna come, Far ...
— Poems And Songs Of Robert Burns • Robert Burns

... each yeoman laid one hand upon his weapon, and with the other, thrust an exulting thumb into his neighbor's ribs. But they did not turn to look at each other; every eye was fastened upon the two by the fire. Freeman and his leader, or feudal lord and his dependant? For the moment they stood forth as ...
— The Ward of King Canute • Ottilie A. Liljencrantz

... little stenographer. Her correspondence had always been free from erasures, thumb-marks, errors. Her four-room flat was as spotless as her typewritten letters had been. The kitchen shone in its blue and white and nickel. A canary chirped in the tiny dining-room. There were books and magazines on the sitting-room ...
— Emma McChesney & Co. • Edna Ferber

... warned him to turn. Professional pride held him rigid, lest he flush those birds and be disgraced. Pride betrayed him. A sudden grip cut his hind legs from under him, threw him flat on his back just as the birds rose with a roar. A thumb and forefinger, clamped in his mouth, pressed on his nose like a vise. He was squirming powerfully in the sand, but a knee was on his throat and the sky was ...
— Frank of Freedom Hill • Samuel A. Derieux

... throat— so assiduously serenading my brain, flinching under the glittering hail of your notes— were you not safe behind... rats know what thickness of... plastered wall... I might fathom your golden delirium with throttle of finger and thumb ...
— Sun-Up and Other Poems • Lola Ridge

... me not how they came, These songs of love and death, These dreams of a futile stage, These thumb-nails seen in the street: Ask me not how nor why, But take them for your own, Dear Wife of twenty years, Knowing—O, who so well?— You it was made the man That made these songs of love, Death, and the trivial rest: So that, your love elsewhere, These songs, or bad or good— How should ...
— Highways & Byways in Sussex • E.V. Lucas

... drunk an' a-gallopadin' down hyar, an' no mo' able to act reasonable in case o' need an' purtect yersefs agin spies an' revenuers an' sech 'n nuthin' in this worl'. The las' raid, ye 'member, we hed the still over yander;" he jerked his thumb in the direction present to his thoughts, but unseen by his coadjutors; "a man war wounded, an' we dun'no' but what killed in the scuffle, an' it mought be a hang-in' matter ter git caught now. Ye oughter keep sober; an' ye know, Isham, ye oughter keep Hil'ry sober. I dun'no' why ...
— The Moonshiners At Hoho-Hebee Falls - 1895 • Charles Egbert Craddock (AKA Mary Noailles Murfree)

... think, master. Good company for laymen when she was sinner, and good for priests now that she is saint. For the rest, I could snore well here after a cup of yon red wine," and he jerked his thumb towards a long-necked bottle on a sideboard. "Also, the fire burns bright, which is not to be wondered at, seeing that it is made of dry ...
— The Lady Of Blossholme • H. Rider Haggard

... Parade, 2. REST. Carry the right foot 6 inches straight to the rear, left knee slightly bent; clasp the hands, without constraint, in front of the center of the body, fingers joined, left hand uppermost, left thumb clasped by the thumb and forefinger of the right hand; preserve silence and ...
— Manual of Military Training - Second, Revised Edition • James A. Moss

... as well as oils, for a medium of expression, being the president of the Water Color Society, which he helped to found. An example of this kind of work is his picture called "Free from Care." A bright-faced boot-black stands leaning against a wall, with one thumb thrust in his trousers pocket, and a general air of having thrown aside business ...
— Child-life in Art • Estelle M. Hurll

... the delicately embroidered collar, a thumb and finger on either side. "I guess it won't meet," he ...
— The Port of Adventure • Charles Norris Williamson and Alice Muriel Williamson

... employed searching for and finding the ruptured artery, and in spite of the horrible nature of the gash, he uttered a sigh of satisfaction as he discovered it and pressed it between his finger and thumb. ...
— Syd Belton - The Boy who would not go to Sea • George Manville Fenn

... headings as he turned,—"Abram is Justified by Faith," "God Instructeth Isaac," "Pharaoh's Heart Is Hardened," "The Laws of Murder," "The Curses for Disobedience." He turned rapidly and at last began to run the leaves from between his thumb and finger, and then, well over in the book something dark caught his eye. He turned the leaves back again to see what it was; but not until the book was opened flat before him and he held the page close to the light did he see ...
— The Lions of the Lord - A Tale of the Old West • Harry Leon Wilson

... for I knew very well that I should never enter it more. I walked up and down the path, awaiting her: and from the jacket-pocket in which lay the revolver I drew a box of Swedish matches, from it took two matches, and broke off a bit from the plain end of one; and the two I held between my left thumb and forefinger joint, the phosphorus ends level and visible, the other ends invisible: and I awaited her, pacing fast, and my brow was as ...
— The Purple Cloud • M.P. Shiel

... saw upon entering; it was a round-faced timepiece perversely set in one corner of an immense red plush palette; the palette itself was tilted to one side, and was upheld by an easel of twisted brass wire. Out of the thumb-hole stuck half a dozen brushes wired together in a round bunch and covered with gilt paint. The clock never was wound. It went so fast that it was useless as a timepiece. Over it, however, hung a large and striking ...
— Vandover and the Brute • Frank Norris

... artery, A, Plate 18, passes external to the radial border of the wrist, beneath the extensor tendons, B, of the thumb; and after winding round the head of the metacarpal bone of the thumb, as seen at E, Plate 19, forms the deep palmar arch E, Plate 18. This deep palmar arch lies close upon the forepart of the carpo-metacarpal joints; it ...
— Surgical Anatomy • Joseph Maclise

... sir, it is only a water-bug," he observed, rescuing the insect upon his thumb-nail. "You need not have been frightened, ...
— Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 25, September 17, 1870 • Various

... Holding the slip with its tip between thumb and fingers, a strong forward stroke plowed a furrow in the mellow, dry soil; then, with a backward movement and a downward thrust, planted the slip, firmed the soil about it, leaving a depression in which the mother poured about a pint of water ...
— Farmers of Forty Centuries - or, Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea and Japan • F. H. King

... scullery, had constituted an extremely dramatic moment in three lives. Certainly Mrs. Butt possessed a wondrous instinct for theatrical effect. Helen, on the contrary, seemed to possess none. She had advanced nonchalantly towards the kidney, and delicately picked it up between finger and thumb, and turned it over, and then put it ...
— Helen with the High Hand (2nd ed.) • Arnold Bennett

... walks 'round him, shakes him, an' takes a look at his eye, a-openin' of it with his finger. Finally he stands back, sticks his thumb in his ...
— Wolfville • Alfred Henry Lewis

... unable to contribute that unconscious coperation and hence the reflex action is not performed. On this point I have, I believe, an instructive and evidential example. One of my maids opened a match-box pasted with paper at the corner by tearing the paper along the length of the box with her thumb-nail. Apparently the box was over-filled or the action was too rapidly made, for the matches flamed up explosively and the whole box was set on fire. What was notable was the fact that the girl threw the box ...
— Robin Hood • J. Walker McSpadden

... evening when I returned home, and, sitting in the window, I read till surprised by the dusk; and when my eyes could no longer follow the printed page, holding the book between finger and thumb, my face resting on the other hand, I looked out on the garden, allowing my heart to fill with dreams. The book that had interested me dealt with the complex technique of the art of the Low Countries—a book ...
— Memoirs of My Dead Life • George Moore

... this afternoon and picked nearly a peck of blackberries. Berries of various kinds are very abundant. The fox-grape is also found in great plenty, and as big as one's thumb. ...
— The Citizen-Soldier - or, Memoirs of a Volunteer • John Beatty

... one year ago the people of Panama lived in fear under the thumb of a dictator. Today democracy is ...
— Complete State of the Union Addresses from 1790 to the Present • Various

... this medium whilst under spirit control. Before a table elaborately decorated on which incense burned, she threw herself into extraordinary contortions, quivering and shaking, her finger and thumb forming a circle, whilst the little finger vibrated continuously. She sustained a perpetual chant in the peculiar spirit voice, the minor strains of which I find it impossible to describe. A relative of the deceased acted as questioner, and she ...
— The Fulfilment of a Dream of Pastor Hsi's - The Story of the Work in Hwochow • A. Mildred Cable

... snarling refusal. Then there were jovial spirits who must have their jest, even though the sensitive subject of it was tortured thereby—men who enjoyed quizzing Haldane before sending him on, as much as the old inquisitors relished a little recreation with hot pincers and thumb-screws. There were also conscientious people, whose worldly prudence prevented them from giving employment to one so damaged in character, and yet who felt constrained to give some good advice. To ...
— A Knight Of The Nineteenth Century • E. P. Roe

... entrance of the Via de' Bardi, he was suddenly urged back towards the angle of the intersecting streets. A company on horseback, coming from the Via Guicciardini, and turning up the Via de' Bardi, had compelled the foot-passengers to recede hurriedly. Tito had been walking, as his manner was, with the thumb of his right-hand resting in his belt; and as he was thus forced to pause, and was looking carelessly at the passing cavaliers, he felt a very thin cold hand laid on his. He started round, and saw the Dominican ...
— Romola • George Eliot

... Stephen. "Can't you see like this?" Rickie lurched forward, and broke his thumb nail on the horse's neck. It bled a little, and had to be ...
— The Longest Journey • E. M. Forster

... that Uncle Sam wants his activities cut short—it may be exciting sport for him to ferry Chinks across from Cuba or Honduras, land big cargoes of booze on our shores with his thumb to his nose insofar as the Government is concerned, and such capers as that, but it means heaps of trouble for the revenue boys as well as holding our laws up to contempt. He must be brought to book, and his game stopped without ...
— Eagles of the Sky - With Jack Ralston Along the Air Lanes • Ambrose Newcomb

... a resinous smoak or fume, it yielded a very bituminous one, smelling much of that kind of sent: But that which I chiefly took notice of, was, that cutting off a small piece of it, about the bigness of my Thumb, and charring it in a Crucible with Sand, after the manner I above prescrib'd, I found it infinitely to abound with the smaller sort of pores, so extreamly thick, and so regularly perforating the substance of it long-ways, ...
— Micrographia • Robert Hooke

... regions. He had really died of spontaneous combustion, which fact gave rise to such a fabulous story. Her father was a weak-minded man, and her mother, a woman of uncommon energy, had him completely under her thumb. Of his uncles, one had gone melancholy mad; another distinguished himself in mathematics, but he was so eccentric that his curious ways were retailed as amusing anecdotes in Lancia; and another retired to the country, married a peasant, and ...
— The Grandee • Armando Palacio Valds

... viii. 19), "This is the finger of God." (3.) With the third finger from the little one He wrote the tables; as it is said (Exod. xxxi. 18), "Tables of stone written by the finger of God." (4.) With the fourth finger, that which is next the thumb, the Holy One—blessed be He!—pointed out to Moses how much the Israelites should give as a ransom for their souls; as it is said (Exod. xxx. 13), "This shall they give." (5.) With the thumb and the whole hand the Holy One—blessed be He!—will in the future destroy the children of Esau, for ...
— Hebraic Literature; Translations from the Talmud, Midrashim and - Kabbala • Various

... out one hand the hand that had proved all kindness and comfort and, snapping a finger and thumb, clicked his tongue in a ...
— We of the Never-Never • Jeanie "Mrs. Aeneas" Gunn

... her bed and prayed. An exultation half-physical, half-spiritual, filled her. When she rose, her little, thin face was radiant. She seemed to measure the shortness of the work and woe of the world as between her thumb and finger. The joy of the divine filled all her longing. When Abby came home, who shared her chamber, she felt no jealousy. She only inquired whether she had gone quite home with Ellen. "Yes, I did," replied Abby. "I don't think it is ...
— The Portion of Labor • Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

... to him back, and then they get at it. Your nephew, who is a stout colt, buffets him well for a time, but Forrester, who is a mighty, powerful built fellow, he gets the better in the long run, and both come down together in the road. Then Forrester, being uppermost, sticks his thumb into Master Colleton's eye—the left eye, I think, it was—yes, the left eye it was—and the next moment it would have been out, when your nephew, not liking it, whipped out his dirk, and, 'fore Forrester could say Jack Robinson, it was playing about in his ribs; and, then comes the ...
— Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia • William Gilmore Simms

... said as I rubbed it reverently between my finger and thumb, just to show that he wasn't the only one who ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 153, Nov. 28, 1917 • Various

... But privately, I think it was due to the way she wore her shirtwaists. Miss Gussie Fink could wear a starched white shirtwaist under a close-fitting winter coat, remove the coat, run her right forefinger along her collar's edge and her left thumb along the back of her belt and disclose to the admiring world a blouse as unwrinkled and unsullied as though it had just come from her own skilful hands at the ironing board. Miss Gussie Fink was so innately, flagrantly, beautifully clean-looking that—well, ...
— Buttered Side Down • Edna Ferber

... at him in admiration, leaned out of the perpendicular, and promptly drew from his trousers' pocket a roll of stupendous proportions. Wetting his thumb, he began to push aside ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... young admirer observed that as often as a gladiator brought his opponent down and appealed to the editor for a decision on the life or death of the vanquished, Caesar invariably waved his handkerchief, a sign of mercy, rather than brutally turned down his thumb, the sentence of death. After the games, the proconsul interchanged personal greetings with the more prominent townspeople. Drusus began to wonder whether the whole day and evening were to pass in this manner; and ...
— A Friend of Caesar - A Tale of the Fall of the Roman Republic. Time, 50-47 B.C. • William Stearns Davis

... it, ma'am," says cook, with virtuous indignation. "Just because she holds up her head a bit, an' likes a ribbon or two, there's no holdin' the gossips down below," indicating the village by a backward jerk of her thumb. "She's as dacent a little sowl as you'd wish to see, an' has as nate a foot as there is in the county. The Cantys has all ...
— Rossmoyne • Unknown

... leered the Professor jerking his thumb towards the door, "dot man vas trying to do you. He don't like to haf me show you dis golt. He vants you to believe dat here is only silver; but ...
— Silver and Gold - A Story of Luck and Love in a Western Mining Camp • Dane Coolidge

... and feeding principally in gravelly, weedy parts, the basket should be well tucked up under a long flowing weed, as it is to these places they go for food, such as the ground fish, loach, miller's thumb, crayfish, shrimps, mussels, &c. When I worked a fishery near here, I made it a rule after setting the basket to well scratch the soil in front of the entrance with the boathook I used for lowering them, and firmly believe their curiosity ...
— The Naturalist on the Thames • C. J. Cornish

... seldom give a thowt Te what thor wives indure, Aw thowt she'd nowt te de But clean the hoose, aw's sure. Or myek me dinner an' tea— It's startin' te chow its thumb, The poor thing wants its tit, Aw wish yor ...
— Northumberland Yesterday and To-day • Jean F. Terry

... everything all by himself now. There isn't a soul left to help him, and he'll kill himself, or be killed at it as sure as I'm alive. You'll see, the shells won't miss him. He's escaped so far but he may not always be so lucky. He's already had a steel splinter in his thumb, and one of them tore a hole in his cap and in his waistcoat. That's close enough, I should think. But there's no use of my talking; he just won't listen to me. He's mad about gardening. That's ...
— With Those Who Wait • Frances Wilson Huard

... I also with the strong thumb and fingers of my right hand by intermittent sliding pressure under and beneath the ribs, stimulated the apex of the heart, and resorted to several other physiological methods. We repeated these motions a number of times before signs of recovery from the profound shock were attained; then a feeble ...
— Lincoln's Last Hours • Charles A. Leale

... mother would have rushed to the rescue, but she was still paralysed! Having reached the chin Lippy became more audacious, stretched forth one of her little hands, and seized Zeppa's nose. Still he did not move, but when the little brown kitten proceeded to thrust a thumb into one of his eyes, he roused himself, seized the child in his powerful hands, and raised her high above his head; then, lowering her until her little mouth was within reach, ...
— The Madman and the Pirate • R.M. Ballantyne

... what seemed to my eyes an inordinate multitude of white teeth. His ears were narrow and long, and set very high upon his head. The hand which he every now and then displayed in the exigencies of his persuasion, was white, but very large, and the thumb was exceedingly long. I had weighty reasons for both suspecting and fearing the man; and, leaving my prejudices out of the question, there was in the conversation itself enough besides to make me ...
— Wilfrid Cumbermede • George MacDonald

... not mad, To deem that Gods love best the base and bad. Now is thy day! Now vaunt thee; thou so pure, No flesh of life may pass thy lips! Now lure Fools after thee; call Orpheus King and Lord; Make ecstasies and wonders! Thumb thine hoard Of ancient scrolls and ghostly mysteries— Now thou art caught and known! Shun men like these, I charge ye all! With solemn words they chase their prey, and in their hearts plot foul disgrace. My wife is dead.—"Ha, so that saves thee now," That is what grips thee worst, thou caitiff, ...
— Hippolytus/The Bacchae • Euripides

... we all withdrew, Father Friday and I going out by the fire again. He resumed his breviary, and I remained silently musing upon all that had passed within the last hour. After a few moments he paused, with, his finger and thumb between the leaves of the book, and looked toward me. I hastened to avail of the ...
— Apples, Ripe and Rosy, Sir • Mary Catherine Crowley

... Guard officer was stooping over, his light resting on the ground, reading something he held in his hand. He looked up at Tom and jerked his thumb back over his shoulder. Tom flashed his ...
— On the Trail of the Space Pirates • Carey Rockwell

... must write of her as Margaret; it is such a nuisance to write Miss Wentworth—pretty voice explaining the importance of a steady position of the wrist, or the dexterous turning over or under of a thumb, or something equally interesting. And then, when the lesson is concluded, my mother rouses herself from her after-dinner nap, and asks Margaret to take a cup of tea, and even insists on her accepting that feminine hospitality. And then we sit talking ...
— Henry Dunbar - A Novel • M. E. Braddon

... existence had no power to disturb his happy serenity. All day long, in the back-shop where the penetrating smell of paste mingled with the fumes of the cabbage-soup, he lived a life of his own, a life of incomparable splendours. His little Corneille, scored thickly with thumb-nail marks at every couplet of Emilie's, was all he needed to foster the fairest of illusions. A face and the tones of a voice were ...
— The Aspirations of Jean Servien • Anatole France

... I was lost. Everything was unfamiliar. I set my course toward a prominent thumb of rock, but when I reached it, it had either changed its shape or moved. ...
— A Mountain Boyhood • Joe Mills

... was freshly flavorful, cool as springwater. Doak rubbed the beaded moisture with a thumb. "Pretty town," he ...
— The Mighty Dead • William Campbell Gault

... she said flatly at last, stopping to press down the hem she had turned with the blunted nail of her thumb. "Of course your ma would be dead against it, but there ain't any reason in the world why you shouldn't go back home and marry Arthur Peyton, as you ought to ...
— Life and Gabriella - The Story of a Woman's Courage • Ellen Glasgow

... Dryfoos knocked at the studio door the morning after Lindau's funeral. Beaton roared out, "Come in!" as he always did to a knock if he had not a model; if he had a model he set the door slightly ajar, and with his palette on his thumb frowned at his visitor and told him he could not come in. Dryfoos fumbled about for the knob in the dim passageway outside, and Beaton, who had experience of people's difficulties with it, suddenly jerked the ...
— Henry James, Jr. • William Dean Howells

... was a venerable man, who held his thumb under his chin, and, through his spectacles, appeared to ...
— Grandfather's Chair • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... moment, Jack heard something that disturbed him, for he threw his ears toward the top of the hill and, with a growl, trotted back to Chad and sat close to him, looking up the slope. Chad rose then with his thumb on the lock of his gun and over the hill came a tall figure and a short one, about Chad's size and a dog, with white feet and white face, that was bigger than Jack: and behind them, three more figures, one of which was the tallest of the group. All stopped ...
— The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come • John Fox

... Pacolet river, near the place where the late Dr. Bivings erected a factory, Col. Johnston, in a skirmish, had a personal rencontre with Patrick Moore, a Tory officer, whom he finally overpowered and captured. In the contest he received several sword cuts on his head, and on the thumb of the right hand. As he was bearing his prisoner to the Whig lines, a short distance off, he was rapidly approached by several British troopers. He then immediately attempted to discharge his loaded musket against his assailants, but unfortunately ...
— Sketches of Western North Carolina, Historical and Biographical • C. L. Hunter

... punkins," and renewed the fly-catching. Dad tried to spit, and was going to say something when Mother, half-way between the house and the waterhole, cried out that the grass paddock was all on fire. "So it is, Dad!" said Joe, slowly but surely dragging the head off a fly with finger and thumb. ...
— On Our Selection • Steele Rudd

... letters asking about sucking the thumb, as introduced by dainty Miss Vanity Vaux in Draw it mild, Daisy. Only the tip of the thumb should be sucked; those of you who put the whole thumb into your mouths must not complain if you see smiles exchanged round you. Where the eyes are large ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 156, Apr 2, 1919 • Various

... in to her, between a red finger and thumb, rather steamy from washing-up, and busied herself about the room while her lodger read the closely-written pages. Mrs. Penticost was frankly curious, and if Blanche did not tell her what was in that letter she meant to ...
— Secret Bread • F. Tennyson Jesse

... sits before the fire. Then he will swing his arm forward from the elbow. The table has become his covert and the rug beyond is his pool. And sometimes even when the rod is not in his hand he will make the motion forward from the elbow and will drop his thumb. It will show that he has jumped the seasons and that he stands to his knees in an ...
— Journeys to Bagdad • Charles S. Brooks

... with protuberances, to prevent their slipping; through each end a screw uniting the two pieces. And when some man denied the efficacy of baptism, or maybe said, "I do not believe that a fish ever swallowed a man to keep him from drowning," then they put his thumb between these pieces of iron and in the name of love and universal forgiveness, began to screw these pieces together. When this was done most men said, "I will recant." Probably I should have done the same. Probably I would have said: ...
— The Ghosts - And Other Lectures • Robert G. Ingersoll

... was filled with a great desire to cut himself away from his past and make a new start. Secondly, when he learned that Rusty Dick had been killed by Joe, he wanted desperately to get the throttle of the latter under his thumb. If ever a man risked his life to avoid a sin, it was Donnegan jumping from the train ...
— Gunman's Reckoning • Max Brand

... is the adulteration, that most of the traders have to cut each ball open. Even the Kinsembo rubber, which is put up in clusters of bits shaped like little thimbles formed by rolling pinches of rubber between the thumb and finger, and which one would think difficult to put anything inside of, has to be cut, because "the simple children of nature" who collect it and bring it to that "swindling white trader" struck upon ...
— Travels in West Africa • Mary H. Kingsley

... She makes a frequent use of her large learning and culture in her novels. In the earlier ones a Greek quotation is to be found here and there, while in the later, German seems to have the preference. In The Mill on the Floss she describes Bob Jakin's thumb as "a singularly broad specimen of that difference between the man and the monkey." Such references to recent scientific speculations are not unfrequent. If they serve to show the tendencies of her mind towards knowledge and large thought, they also indicate a too ready willingness to imbibe, ...
— George Eliot; A Critical Study of Her Life, Writings & Philosophy • George Willis Cooke

... about the rats and the cat; for hardly a day passed just at this time without her not merely recalling it, but reflecting upon it. And the smith drew the back of his hand across both his eyes when she had done, and then pressed them both hard with the thumb and forefinger of his right hand, as if they ached, while his other arm went blowing away as if nothing was the matter but plenty of wind for the forge-fire. Then he pulled out the red-hot gad, or iron ...
— Alec Forbes of Howglen • George MacDonald

... larger extension than any of the others had been, Polly called out: "This must be the thumb of the hand!" ...
— Polly of Pebbly Pit • Lillian Elizabeth Roy

... become addicted to opium, and when she first came under the visitor's care, was only held from the poorhouse by the awful thought that she would there perish without her drug. Five years of tender care have done wonders for her. She lives in two neat little rooms, where with her thumb and two fingers she makes innumerable quilts, which she sells and gives away with the greatest delight. Her opium is regulated to a set amount taken each day, and she has been drawn away from much drinking. She is a voracious reader, ...
— Democracy and Social Ethics • Jane Addams

... thumb and finger a little china cup of tea well laced, she called it, with Cognac, remarked,—"They fairly run the Intendant down, Froumois: there is not a girl in the city but laces her boots to distraction since it came out that the Intendant admires a neat, trim ankle. ...
— The Golden Dog - Le Chien d'Or • William Kirby

... this with unimaginable energy, one might have thought him the angriest of mankind. To see him at the very same time, looking at the bird now perched upon his thumb and softly smoothing its feathers with his forefinger, one might have thought him the gentlest. To hear him laugh and see the broad good nature of his face then, one might have supposed that he had not a care in the world, or a dispute, or ...
— Bleak House • Charles Dickens

... He remembered how enthralled he had been by the acting of the girl who had played Juliet. He had been caught up and transported from the theatre to the very streets of Verona. He had felt that he was one of the crowd that followed the Montagues or the Capulets, and had been ready to bite his thumb with the best.... But here was something that left him uneasy and alien. He felt as if he were prying into private affairs, that at any moment someone, a policeman, perhaps, might come along and seize him for trespassing. ...
— The Foolish Lovers • St. John G. Ervine

... hanging on the walls or ranged on the table. Of these, although the lads were ignorant of their uses, they entertained no doubt, whatever, that they were the instruments of torture of which they had heard—thumb screws, iron gags, the boot, the rack, and other devilish inventions. They made no reply to the address, and were taken away, this time, down several winding stairs to a black and noxious dungeon, far below the ...
— Under Drake's Flag - A Tale of the Spanish Main • G. A. Henty

... quaintly they are squeezed at that period of life! How they are pushed into conversation! what absurd vows and protests are palmed off by their aid! What good can there be in pulling and pressing a thumb and four fingers? I fancy I see Alexis laugh, who is haply reading this page by the side of Araminta. To talk about thumbs indeed!... Maria looks round, for her part, to see if Madame Bernstein has been awakened ...
— The Virginians • William Makepeace Thackeray

... shawl in her arms begin dusting with great energy; then hurrying out once more she would shake the dust from her big, funny shawl in his eyes. At last he carefully raised a hand and was just going to take hold of the queer, little, old dame with his forefinger and thumb when up she flew. It was only ...
— A Little Boy Lost • Hudson, W. H.

... the sign of the cross on his mouth with his right thumb, placed his hat straight on his head, raised his sword for fear of its making a noise or beating against the wall, and went downstairs as silently as if he had feared that every step would ...
— The Conspirators - The Chevalier d'Harmental • Alexandre Dumas (Pere)

... his face horizontally in two. He stood ostentatiously still, muttering with his lips as the trio went lightly by. Then he made to go on. But old Marco Zoppa stood up and made a speech. He had the wooden stem of his pipe 'twixt finger and thumb, and used it like a conductor's baton to emphasise his points. As his voice shrilled and quavered, Carlo Formaggia caught his own name and turned back to listen, prick-eared. He stood out of sight resting one foot on a doorstep, and leaned forward on to his leg. ...
— Earthwork Out Of Tuscany • Maurice Hewlett

... point of comparison is extent, and the unit of measure is now the division of the circle into three hundred and sixty parts, now the circumference of the terrestrial globe, now the average dimension of the human arm, hand, thumb, or foot. In economic science, we have said after Adam Smith, the point of view from which all values are compared is labor; as for the unit of measure, that adopted in France is the FRANC. It is incredible that so many ...
— The Philosophy of Misery • Joseph-Pierre Proudhon

... humiliate him to think to what a companion he had sunk. How happy they would be! Of course the world would censure him if it knew, but the world was stupid and prosaic, and measured all things by its coarse rule of thumb. It was the best thing that could happen to Mary Ann—the best thing in the world. And then the ...
— The Grey Wig: Stories and Novelettes • Israel Zangwill

... his hands the stones which served him as weapons or as tools. The marks of hammering on the smooth surfaces, the rounded projections and the grooves worked in these stones, were evidently made to prevent the hand or the thumb from slipping. Soon, however, reflection led man to understand the increase of force he would gain by the addition to the stone of a handle of wood or horn, stag or reindeer antler. This addition of a handle was simple enough: the workman merely bound it to the hatchet with fibrous roots, ...
— Manners and Monuments of Prehistoric Peoples • The Marquis de Nadaillac

... her nature sometimes rebelled against these dictates of reason, and that she grew yearly more capricious and impatient; but having a respectful and well-disciplined husband under her thumb at all times, she found it possible, as a rule, to empty any little accumulations of spleen upon his head, and therefore the harmony of the family was kept duly balanced, and things went as ...
— The Idiot • (AKA Feodor Dostoevsky) Fyodor Dostoyevsky

... spot where a briar or thorn has entered the foot, owing to its penetrating so far into the substance of the ball as to be entirely concealed under the skin, or by the swelling of the parts surrounding it. In all such cases the bottom of the foot should he gently pressed by the thumb, and the point where the dog exhibits symptoms of must pain should be, particularly examined, and, if necessary, cut down upon to extract the extraneous substance, no matter ...
— The Dog - A nineteenth-century dog-lovers' manual, - a combination of the essential and the esoteric. • William Youatt

... friendly or unfriendly. I tell you I don't know anything about him. And," he added, pressing his thumb upon the button for the lift, "I'll wish you two gentlemen good afternoon. ...
— The Evil Shepherd • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... lightness of touch, and a singular misunderstanding of childhood, chose to presume upon his paternal functions. Approaching the high chair in which Johnnyboy was dyspeptically reflecting, with a ponderous wink at the other guests, and a fat thumb and forefinger on Johnnyboy's table, he leaned over him, and with slow, ...
— The Bell-Ringer of Angel's and Other Stories • Bret Harte

... silk affords, With many a folded braid of white and gold, Shade to their brows; rich goat-hair shawls did fold Their gowns of flow'r'd white muslin, midway tied; And ruby, turkis, emerald—stones of pride— Blazed on their thumb-rings; and a pearl gleamed white In every ear; and silver belts, clasped tight, Held ink-box, reeds, and knives, in scabbards gemmed; Curled shoes of goat-skin dyed, with seed-pearls hemmed, Shod their brown feet; hair shorn; lids ...
— In The Yule-Log Glow—Book 3 - Christmas Poems from 'round the World • Various

... and jerked his head toward the man beside the saw. The twins walked around to where they could get a look at the workman's left hand. Then they understood. There was nothing left of the fingers but the stub of one, and the thumb! ...
— Sure Pop and the Safety Scouts • Roy Rutherford Bailey

... came down swiftly, his thumb catching in his belt. There was a contemptuous glitter ...
— The Bells of San Juan • Jackson Gregory

... keeping hold of the chain. The face was light blue; the cases newly burnished. In the sunlight it seemed to be all on fire. The temptation was too great. Fortunato raised his left hand and pointed over his shoulder with his thumb at the hay against which he was reclining. The Adjutant understood him at once. He dropped the end of the chain and Fortunato felt himself the sole possessor of the watch. He sprang up with the agility of a deer and stood ten feet from the pile, which the soldiers ...
— International Short Stories: French • Various

... 'chortle' at the sign of cheese-marks? Surely it is one of the merits of new leaves that they come direct from the printer and the binder, though they, alas! may have left occasional impressions of an inky thumb. ...
— By-ways in Book-land - Short Essays on Literary Subjects • William Davenport Adams

... campaign of life and death like this; and though the private secretary should covet and attain every office in the gift of President or people, he would never again find education to compare with the life-and-death alternative of this two-year-and-a-half struggle in London, as it had racked and thumb-screwed him in its shifting phases; but its practical value as education turned on his correctness of judgment in measuring the men and their forces. He felt respect for Russell as for Palmerston because they represented ...
— The Education of Henry Adams • Henry Adams

... looked down upon her, it was with an eyebrow so scowling, a mouth so pouting, and an air that so rudely said, "What the d— do you want?" that I was almost afraid he would have taken her between his thumb and finger, and given her a shake. However, be only grumbled out, "Qu'est-ce que c'est, donc?"(187) A little at a loss what to say, she gently stammered, "M'ami,—le—le premier Consul, ne vient-il pas?"(188) "Oui! oui!" was ...
— The Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay Volume 3 • Madame D'Arblay

... murmured. "But you're sure put together right!" He was silent for a moment while he punched back and shoulders with a searching thumb. "Silk and steel," he went on to himself. "And not a lump—not a single knot! Oh, if you only knew how to use it; if you only knew the moves, wouldn't we give Flash the heart-break of his ...
— Once to Every Man • Larry Evans

... of domestic taste in art. But, on the other hand, whether his art is adequately appreciated or not, what an unprejudiced and wholly spontaneous acclaim awaits the artist who gives his best to the little ones! They do not place his work in portfolios or locked glass cases; they thumb it to death, surely the happiest of all fates for any printed book. To see his volumes worn out by too eager votaries; what could an author or artist wish for more? The extraordinary devotion to a volume of natural history, ...
— Children's Books and Their Illustrators • Gleeson White

... young man is not much accustomed to ladies' society," he answered evasively; "he's under his mother's thumb apparently, but he seems to please his sweetheart, ...
— The Northern Light • E. Werner

... related of Catalani's London career, to which the stupid, avaricious, but good-natured character of M. Vallebregue lent much of their flavor. Speaking of Mrs. Salmon's singing, he said with vehemence, "Mrs. Salmon, sare, she is as that," extending the little finger of his left hand and placing his thumb at the root of it; "but ma femme! Voila! she is that"—stretching out his whole arm at full length and touching the shoulder-joint with the other. His stupidity extended to an utter ignorance of music, which he only prized as the means of gaining the large sums which his ...
— Great Singers, First Series - Faustina Bordoni To Henrietta Sontag • George T. Ferris

... you, Miss Judy?" she said now, turning round and setting down her own cup of strong tea. "Come along, my pet, and give me a kiss. What do you say to this?" She held a pink sugar-stick between her finger and thumb. "I suppose you'll want another for Miss Babs, ...
— A Young Mutineer • Mrs. L. T. Meade

... the chaps, would thee?" said Ben, speaking in the Hampshire dialect. "No, no; don't be doin' that. Measter Jackson may have spoken fair enough, but he knows that he's got his thumb on thee, an' can come down on thee when he loiks. Now, just listen to what I have got to say. I was going to look for thee. The Nancy is expected in before many days are over, an' she'll be sailing again the next morning. If thee'll come down to Keyhaven, there'll be a good ...
— The Rival Crusoes • W.H.G. Kingston

... even noticing himself that he was doing it, he let awareness run over his body, checking the position and stiffness of his legs—he had been sitting there quite a while—the balance of the gun across his knees, the nearness of his thumb to ...
— Cat and Mouse • Ralph Williams



Words linked to "Thumb" :   glove, peruse, touch, molding, moulding, musculus abductor pollicis, covering, echinus, ride



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