Making a promise: finger

Discussion in 'English Only' started by felixwong33, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. felixwong33 Member

    Chinese
    do anyone know any expression in English to say when two fingers (esp. the little finger) hook with each other meaning making a promise for something.
     
  2. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    Pinky swear?

    From Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinky_swear

    Prior to this, I didn't know that this was common outside of the U.S.
     
  3. felixwong33 Member

    Chinese
    Thanks so much. You are informative.
    It would be great if some buddies could let me know if such expression will be used outside US? E.g in UK.
     
  4. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I haven't heard "pinky swear". But that's not surprising, for two reasons:

    (1) we don't generally use the term "pinky" for the little finger in BrE

    (2) to the best of my knowledge, BrE-speakers don't link little fingers when we make a promise except when we are making up with someone after a quarrel - in which case we link little fingers and say "make friends, make friends, never never break friends." I say "we" - it's been a long while since I did that:D
     
  5. Jam on toast

    Jam on toast Senior Member

    UK
    British English
    I'm not aware of any two finger promises, but I do recall when I was a boy scout we made a salute with three fingers (with the smallest finger held down by the thumb) as we recited our "boy scout promise" each week.


    Hi Loob, I am an exception to that rule if that is true. My littlest fingers will always be my pinkies :D.

    Oh, and I confirm that my partner also used to to that "make friends.." rhyme, holding pinkies with someone :).
     
  6. chalni Member

    NZ
    English- Canadian, NZ
    I heard NZ teen girls saying "pinkie promise" about 10 years ago, and hooking little fingers. I don't know if it is still current.
     
  7. DaylightDelight Senior Member

    Japanese - Tokyo
    Wow. I didn't know people other than Japanese do that.
     
  8. felixwong33 Member

    Chinese
    It is interesting to see cultural difference in this promise making thing. So any common gestures for English speakers when they make a promise?
     
  9. felixwong33 Member

    Chinese
    Is it common in Japan? :)
     
  10. DaylightDelight Senior Member

    Japanese - Tokyo
    Yes. I can't imagine a single Japanese person who haven't done that as a child.
     
  11. felixwong33 Member

    Chinese
    Maybe it suggests the move is quite Asian. We have a lot in our Chinese communities.
     
  12. london calling Senior Member

    SALERNO, ITALY
    UK ENGLISH
    The Wiki article above says it probably originated in Japan.:)
     
  13. DaylightDelight Senior Member

    Japanese - Tokyo
    Ah, now I remember that this gesture originated in old time brothels, and it involved actual maiming of a finger :(.
     
  14. Making the sign of a cross over the heart with a finger and saying 'Cross my heart and hope to die [if I break that promise]'.
     
  15. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    Just so you know, it isn't really AmE speakers in general who pinky-swear. It's almost exclusively girls. I don't think very many boys practice pinky-swearing.

    But I agree that "cross my heart and hope to die" is pretty universal.
     
  16. DaylightDelight Senior Member

    Japanese - Tokyo
    It is regarded as something of a girlish gesture in Japan, too. Young children (both boys and girls) and maybe no-so-young women might do that, but not many adult men. This may have something to do with its origin.
     

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