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I found the word, ‘Pinkie-sized’ in the following examples. From the definition of ‘pinkie’ as ‘small –Scottish / child talk in a dictionary at hand, and ‘small finger’ in Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, I guess it ‘small-sized,’ though I’m not sure. ‘Pinkie’ gives me an image just like pinkish, therefore strange combination with 'size.' What does it mean? Is it a technical term?

  1. Pinkie-sized laser-powered video projectors coming soon ... Resolution is standard definition at 640 x 480, so it's not exactly going to be running your home theater, but that's not the intended use. ...
  2. The brain's pinkie-sized hippocampus, which helps to archive memories, shrinks naturally as we age. But studies indicate that aerobic activities such as walking not only may help the hippocampus stop shrinking, but might even help it grow.
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4 Answers 4

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It means "sized like the small finger"; it is generally used to refer to something that is small, in the same way thumbnail is used to means a small picture of an image.

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kiamlauluno.According to Google Labs, the word pinkie started to be in use around 1860, but stayed very low in its presence until 1970s. Use of the word sharply increased around 1990 and afterward. Does it have something to do with the expansion of meaning from mere small finger to technology-related adjective modifying small-sized gadget, device, or tool? What do you think is the reason for the sharp rise of its usage in the last two decades? –  Yoichi Oishi Feb 28 '11 at 9:15

The pinkie is a primarily American term for the little finger, i.e. the one most distant from the thumb. (Note that native speakers of English would be unlikely to use the term small finger in this context.)

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Pinkie is an informal term used to refer to the smallest finger on the hand. Pinkie-sized is derived from that—something pinkie-sized is about the size of the average human's pinkie or smaller (it sometimes refers to just the distance between the last joint and the tip of the finger). It is not a technical term, and shares nothing relevant in common with the color pink (it may possibly be etymologically similar, but that has no bearing).

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The pinkie is the smallest finger in your hand. This is the one farthest from your thumb. The pinkie may also be called the fifth finger. Pinkie-sized means roughly the size of a pinkie (usually an adult pinkie).

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But the word was unknown in England (at least in Southern England) when I was growing up. I encountered it as an Americanism, and it took me a while to realise that it was an ordinary word in American, not baby talk. –  Colin Fine Sep 16 '11 at 15:02

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