Thumbprinted

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MaryamSeresht

Senior Member
Persian
Greetings,

Would you please tell me what does thumbprinted here mean?

Finally a battered van came by and they paid into the cracked open door, handed over their photographs taken according to INS requirements showing a single bared ear and a three-quarter profile, and were thumbprined through the crack. ”

Does it mean when they passed their photos through the crack of the door, their finger print were on it, maybe because their hands were sweating?

It's part of Inheritance of Loss, a novel by Kiran Dessay.

Thank you.
 
  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I'd say that their thumbprints were taken through the crack of the door. I am guessing that the prints are needed for a forged document which the occupants of the van are supplying, but perhaps you could let us have some background on this. Note that the subject throughout the sentence is "they" the people: they paid, they handed over the photos; they were thumbprinted.
     

    MaryamSeresht

    Senior Member
    Persian
    These people are some illegal foreigners- from third world-in US that try to get their green card, but illegally, by help of a suspicious van that comes and take some money from them and their photos also. But never it returns and they lose their money.
    I don't know if they really print their thumbprint on the photos, or it is made because of the sweat of their hands!
     

    Inglip

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Thumbprinted means to have your thumbprint recorded/taken. Most often, Police take them for records, and a thumprint can be used as ID. In your sentence it is saying that 'they' had their thumbprint recorded through the crank in the door. Not that their print was on the photographs.
     

    MaryamSeresht

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Oh, so it has nothing to do with the photographs! I made a mistake, because of ", and were ......." I've thought "were" refers to those photos!

    Thank you for correcting me.:)
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Note what I said about it being the people who are thumbprinted, not the photos. To be thumbprinted (or fingerprinted) means that prints are made of one's thumbs, usually with ink. Prints are often required for documents of this kind, either as part of the application, or to appear on the document itself.
     

    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    A thumbprint is a more economical but, I suppose, less reliable means of identification than a full set of 5 or 10 fingerprints. If you only have someone's thumbprint on record, it might be difficult to match at a crime scene to a fingerprint from one of the other fingers. However, a thumb print can be compared to the thumb print in a full set of fingerprints, so it can be used as identification. As "fingerprint" is a verb for the process of taking and recording a full set of 5 or 10 fingerprints, so "thumbprint" can be a verb for the comparable process involving only the pattern of ridges on a person's thumb.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    From your description, it sounds as if the crack was wide enough that they could stick a thumb through it for printing purposes.
     
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