Little finger

For the A Song of Ice and Fire character nicknamed "Littlefinger", see Petyr Baelish.
Little/pinky finger

Artery Proper palmar digital arteries,
dorsal digital arteries
Vein Palmar digital veins,
dorsal digital veins
Nerve Dorsal digital nerves of ulnar nerve
Lymph supratrochlear
Latin digitus minimus manus,
digitus quintus manus,
digitus V manus
TA A01.1.00.057
FMA 24949

Anatomical terminology

The little finger, also known as the fifth digit or pinky, is the most ulnar and usually smallest finger of the human hand, opposite the thumb, and next to the ring finger.


The word "pinky" is derived from the Dutch word pink, meaning "little finger". In some places "pinky" is also a traditional name for the smallest (youngest) child in a family (especially, when father and mother have 3 children).


There are nine muscles that control the fifth digit: Three in the hypothenar eminence, two extrinsic flexors, two extrinsic extensors, and two more intrinsic muscles:

Note: the dorsal interossei of the hand muscles do not have an attachment to the fifth digit

Cultural significance


A pinky swear

Among American children a "pinky swear" (or "pinky promise") is made when a person wraps one of their pinky finger around the other person's pinky and makes a promise. Traditionally, it's considered binding, and the idea was originally that the person who breaks the promise must cut off their pinky finger. In a similar vein, among members of the Japanese yakuza (gangsters), the penalty for various offenses is removal of parts of the little finger (known as yubitsume).[1]


The Iron Ring is a symbolic ring worn by most Canadian engineers. The Ring is a symbol of both pride and humility for the engineering profession, and is always worn on the pinky of the dominant hand.

In the United Kingdom the signet ring is traditionally worn on the little finger of a gentleman's left hand. In recent years this has relaxed with men and women wearing them on various different fingers; little fingers still tend to be dominant however.

In the United States the Engineer's Ring is a stainless steel ring worn on the fifth finger of the working hand by engineers that belong to the Order of the Engineer and have accepted the Obligation of an Engineer.


  1. Hill, Peter B. E.: "The Japanese Mafia: Yakuza, law, and the state", p. 75. Oxford Univ. Press, 2003

See also

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