All Words > Interdigitate

Wednesday, March 9

Interdigitate

[in-ter-DIJ-ə-teit]

Part of speech: verb

Origin: Latin, 19th Century

1.

(of two or more things) interlock like the fingers of two clasped hands.

Examples of Interdigitate in a sentence

"The chair was finely woven with interdigitating lines of colored cane."

"When the safe’s lock is engaged, the protective steel bands interdigitate, making it impossible to open."

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About Interdigitate

“Interdigitate” is a 19th century merger of Latin-derived pieces. The prefix “inter-” (meaning “between) joins “digitus” (meaning “finger or toe”) to evoke the image of fingers meshed together in sequence. The term is common in dentistry, where it can describe the interlocking fit of top and bottom teeth.

Did you Know?

Most people have a personal preference about how they interdigitate–in the original sense, meaning how they interlock the fingers of their hands. Some people prefer to have their right thumb on top when they clasp their hands, others prefer to have their left on top, and a third group of ambidextrous people are comfortable either way. Other than having ruled out a genetic explanation for this preference, researchers do not know why it exists.

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