The expression "circle around your finger" is still widely used, although few people know where it came from. We will consider both the meaning of phraseology and its history, especially since the legends about the emergence of a stable speech turnover are fascinating. And as time goes on, it becomes so difficult to distinguish truth from fiction.
Before we move on to fascinating stories, let's talk about what the expression "circle around your finger" means. There is no mystery here. When they say this, they mean that a person was deceived, outwitted, cheated.
For example, when a student managed to cheat on a test, but a strict teacher did not notice, the teacher was fooled. But, however, there are also stories when the teacher himself is “happy to be deceived.” Most often this happens at the university, when the teacher does not want to waste time retaking. Then he takes a newspaper or a book and reads with enthusiasm, and at this time the students just as enthusiastically and selflessly write off answers to questions,which, of course, are stocked in advance.
But enough about that, let's move on to dessert, keeping in mind the history of the expression "circle around your finger".
It is known how easy it is to wind a thread around your finger. According to this principle, an explanation of the origin of the saying “circle around your finger” is also built. According to Dahl, for example, the expression came from a related phrase, "wrap around your finger," which meant "to cope with a task quickly and easily."
The second practical hypothesis says that in fact there was some kind of German proverb, which was traced, resulting in our famous expression. In a German proverb, we are talking about a weak-willed person who is even easier to deceive than to wind a thread around his finger.
These are the versions of the origin of the stable phrase, which are based on some physical capabilities of the thread and the finger. We remind you that the focus of our attention is the phraseological unit “circle around your finger”. Much more interesting stories will follow.
Conjurers, robbers and dead men
Imagine a public place with a lot of people. And there must be an illusionist. One of the legends says that the expression appeared because magicians distracted the curious with tricks, while their accomplices at that time thoroughly cleaned the pockets of onlookers.
The reader will indignantly ask: “What does the phraseologism “circle around your finger” have to do with it?” Calm, just calm. The Magician has big hands, so he took something froma randomly selected viewer and hid it in his palms, perhaps even fingers. Remember the trick with a coin that ends up behind the viewer's ear, and the magician does all this so that it appears there. An illusionist needs big hands.
Another legend is connected with robbers, only this story has a mystical flair. The bandits believed that the dead man's hand had evil magic power, you just need to make circular movements over the heads of the sleeping people, and the dream will become deeper, which will allow the criminals to silently and painlessly free the pockets of the victims from all that is superfluous. Indeed, in ancient times, people did not stay in a hotel, but often slept right on the street, by the road, for example. By the way, history has not preserved evidence of how effective such a terrible method was.
Of course, one may ask which of the legends is true and which is not? But is it really that important? The main thing is that the meaning of the expression “circle around the finger” will not change. And the reader will learn not only something new, but also something truly marvelous. But, it would seem, the usual, everyday set expression.