eing all thumbs means that you are awkward. But these days, in some cases, being all thumbs might come in handy. In All thumbs, without the stigma, in the New York Times, Matt Richtel describes text messagers dexterously using their thumbs to type away. Text messaging, he reports Dr Tenner saying, is giving the thumb “a second renaissance.” The thumb is also dubbed “the power digit.”
This made me curious about idioms that use the word thumb. Some expressions I knew.
Thumbs up or Thumbs down is attributed to the ancient Romans and the Gladiators who fought in the Coliseum.
When one Gladiator had emerged victorious in a fight, the spectators would get to decide if the loser should live or die. If they felt the loser had fought bravely enough, his life would be spared, otherwise he would be killed.
The spectators signaled their vote with a “thumbs up” for life and “thumbs down” for death.
Or being under somebody’s thumb meaning being under the control of someone. Or having Like green thumbs, meaning that you’re good at growing plants or gardening.
But I had never heard of thumbing one’s nose “to express scorn or ridicule by or as if by placing the thumb on the nose and wiggling the fingers”.
There is more to learn about body idioms here.
You can also do some quizzes here or here.
More can be learnt thumbing your dictionary or browsing it here.