A thumb is the short thick digit that is attached to the hand. Humans have four fingers and one thumb on each hand. The plural is ‘thumbs’.

 

FUN FACT – When pronouncing the word ‘thumb’, just remember…the ‘b’ is silent. We have lots of silent letters in English.

thumb idioms list

Let’s look at some popular body idioms that contain the word ‘thumb’.

  • all fingers and thumbs
    meaning – a clumsy person
    example – Don’t pass the ball to Hannah, she’s all fingers and thumbs.
  • rule of thumb
    meaning – a basic rule that isn’t always followed
    example – A rule of thumb is 300 grams per person.
  • stick out like a sore thumb
    meaning – be very obvious
    example – Don’t wear fancy dress costume to a black-tie event. You’ll stick out like a sore thumb.
  • thumbs down
    meaning – a sign of disapproval/rejection
    example – The manager gave the thumbs down to my new marketing idea.
  • thumbs up
    meaning – a gesture of approval
    example – My mum gave me the thumbs up when she met my hunky boyfriend.
  • twiddle one’s thumbs
    meaning – be bored/have nothing to do
    example – It poured down all weekend, so I just stayed in and twiddled my thumbs.
  • under the thumb
    meaning – under the complete control of another person
    example – My boss is completely under my thumb. if I ask for a pay rise, I’ll get one.

thumb idioms list with pictures

Here’s some real life picture examples.

idiomatic expressions with body parts - thumb
common body idioms and expressions (THUMB) list in English - all fingers and thumbs meaning
common body idioms and expressions (THUMB) list in English - rule of thumb
thumbs down meaning
common body idioms and expressions (THUMB) list in English - thumbs up meaning
twiddle one’s thumbs meaning
common body idioms and expressions (THUMB) list in English - under the thumb meaning

You can download a table of ‘thumb’ idioms and expressions below.

If you’ve enjoyed this page, don’t forget to check out some more body idioms by clicking on the links below.