to have sticky fingers
Meaning | Synonyms
- keep objects that don’t belong to you
- the inclination or tendency to steal
- to be likely to steal something
- steal small amounts of cash or valuables
- Money had started disappearing from the treasury coffers so, they realised that someone had sticky fingers.
- One of the new staff had sticky fingers because the books never seemed to balance anymore.
- That waiter has got sticky fingers. I just saw him put our cash in his trouser pocket.
- A lot of things have gone missing lately from the store cupboard. Do you think someone has sticky fingers?
- I hope he doesn’t leave any cash lying around when the family visit. His uncle is a little sticky-fingered.
This phrase is from Britain in the mid-1800s and is a metaphor suggesting that if someone has a tendency to steal then valuable items and cash naturally ‘adhere’ to their hands. The phrase is used more for a petty thief rather than a hardened criminal though for example, a shop worker stealing cash from the till, rather than an armed robber stealing from a bank.