Finger length meaning:
short fingers & long fingers!

Extraordinary short finger length: brachydactyly. Extraordinary long finger length: dolichodactyly.

What can finger length reveal?


Many people wonder about the significance of their finger length: what can finger length reveal? Basically, your finger length presents a measure for various personal features that you have - including e.g.: body height, sexe, ethnicity (these factors are largely determined by your genes + chromosomes), and your personality. However, there is so much more to tell about fingers. In order to decode specific meaning for the finger length in an individual it requires a precise measurement of the third (middle) finger length in order to put it in the perspective of various hand features - such as: hand shape, hand lines & the dermatoglyphics. Guidelines are presented here as a guide to discover your finger length very precisely.

During the past decade the 2D:4D digit ratio became a regular item in popular & scientific media. However, the length of the middle finger (3rd digit = 3D) presents a much more revealing measure. This has been recognized in the fields of palmistry since it's early days, but in the fields of medical science it has been recognized as well since the end of the nineteenth century.

During the 2nd half of the 20th century the significance of finger length abnormalities became known as 'Minor Physical Anomaly' [MPA]. This is how finger length became also a topic of consideration in the fields of psychiatry & psychology. Before jumping into the details, let's first take a look at how we can assess finger length.

MAY 24, 2014 UPDATE:
'finger length re-defined'!

JUNE 8, 2014 UPDATE:
'finger length in general populations around the world'!

How to assess finger length?

Finger length measurement. Proper assessment of finger length requires a measurement of the length of the third finger - which is measured as the distance between the tip of the third finger and the proximal finger crease seperating the third finger from the palm (see picture).

However, finger length can only become meaningful in the perspective of other hand dimensions! Therefore a measurement of palm width (where metacarpals end) and palm length (= distance between finger crease and wrist crease) are also required, in order to attribute any specific meaning to finger length in an individual. ...more

Finger length around the world

Finger length varies significantly among populations around the world. Data reported in various international studies suggest that finger length relative to palm width (or palm length) may vary between the continents even up to 20% (or 12%) - but within each continent the variation among populations appears to be much smaller! ...more

Finger length around the world: international populations.

Finger length abnormalities (MPAs)

The significance of finger length can best be understood in the perspective of the extreme variations:

- Abnormal long fingers [olichodactyly] is a common feature in various medical/genetic conditions - Marfan syndrome & Loeys-Dietz syndrome are most common examples.
- Abnormal short fingers [brachydactyly] is a common features in various genetic conditions - Down syndrome & Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome are the most common examples.

Abnormal finger lengths: long fingers vs. short fingers.

Examples: long fingers in a person who has Marfan syndrome (left picture), and short fingers in a person who has Down syndrome (right picture).

However, sometimes these finger length abnormalities are also seen in people who do not have any of the conditions mentioned. ...more

Finger length: males vs. females

International studies show that finger length varies with sexe: females tend to have slightly longer fingers (compared to males) in the perspective of palm breadth, palm length & hand length. However, one should also be aware that men tend to have longer finger length in the perspective of body height - because men tend to have relatively longer limbs.

The most stricking difference between men and women in this perspective is that men typically tend to have shorter finger length compared to palm breadth (confirmed in a very large majority of international studies), while women tend to have slightly longer fingers compared to palm width (confirmed in a majority of international studies). The average size of this effect in international populations appears to be close to 2.5%, which implicates that in the hands of women finger length relative to palm width tends to be about 2mm longer (relatively compared to the hands of men).

Women tend to have longer fingers compared to men. Women tend to have longer fingers compared to men. Men tend to have shorter fingers compared to women. Men tend to have shorter fingers compared to women.

By the way, this phenomenon can be understood in the perspective of a likewise phenomenon that can be observed for the 2D:4D digit ratio: men typically have ring finger (4D) > pointer finger (2), while in women the length of both fingers tends to be equal (2D:4D > 1 is a.k.a. the 'human digital formula'). ...more

How to recognize masculinity & femininity
via finger length & hand shape ratios?

Abnormal finger lengths: long fingers vs. short fingers. During the 1st decade of the 21th century 2D:4D Digit ratio became known as a popular scientific measure for masculinity (associated with low digit ratios) and feminity (associated with high digit ratios). Small 2D:4D digit ratios (0.95 or smaller) produced when the ring finger is longer than the index finger are an indication of greater exposure to prenatal testosterone and might therefore be considered a measure of masculinity. Similarly, larger ratios (0.98 or higher), where the index finger is almost equal to or longer than the ring finger, result from greater exposure to oestrogen and therefore might be thought of as a measure of femininity.

However, hand shape and finger length ratios provide a few other clues that relate to masculinity/femininity.

A 3-step hand-assessment is presented (based on 2D:4D digit ratio and three hand shape ratios) that provides a guide to recognize masculinity and femininity from the hand of an individual. ...more

Finger length & psychology?

What can long fingers and short fingers indicate in the perspective of the so-called Five Factor Model (a.k.a. the 'Big Five' personality dimensions)? Can finger length in individuals represent anything specific in the perspective of behavior and psychology?

Authors have suggested that short fingers meaning may indicate a "quick mind", a "hasty nature", and/or an "impetuous disposition"; 'long fingers' may indicate "slow going and slow talking", and/or "going into the details of things" (quoted from 'Encyclopaedic Dictionary Of Palmistry'). Is there any solid ground for the specific assumptions made in the fields of palmistry, palm reading & hand analysis regarding finger length?

Additionally, one can also explore other specific finger length variations such as: finger shapes, the high- and low 2d:4d digit ratio, and individual short- or long finger lengths such as a long- and short thumb, and long- and short pinky finger length meaning.

So far there was hardly any research available, but brand new materials (2012) point out that finger length has a link with personality! ...more

Finger length: introverts have longer fingers, extraverts have wider palms.

Finger length as measure for hand shape!

In the field of hand reading is finger length considered as an important point of reference for hand shape. The work of psychologist Charlotte Wolff became a significant milestone, describing how hand shape (hand form) relates to the mental deficiencies, learning problems & psychiatric disorders.

In modern times the so-called 'elemental hand shapes' became a popular (philosophical) model for studying finger length + palm shape in the perspective of basic character- and personality traits. Not only your fingerprints are unique: even hand shape became in time a tool for personal identification. ...more

Finger length as a point of reference in the elemental hand shapes.

Finger length as a point of reference in the elemental hand shapes.

Martijn van Mensvoort - Hand Research

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