When school's off for more than three or four days, I usually don't write much (I prefer to type at home!) and so when I come back and hold my pen[cil], my fingers refuse to move like they normally do. My handwriting comes out all weird and I have to really make an effort to write something for the first few hours.

My question is, is there a word for this, except for maybe 'being out of practice'?

  • Dyspraxia and no.
    – Joe Dark
    Dec 24, 2014 at 12:10

4 Answers 4


You can say "After a few days I seem to have got rusty fingers".

rusty (adj)

  • "stiff with or as if with rust" - Merriam-Webster

  • "weakened or impaired by neglect, disuse, or lack of practice" - TFD

  • You certainly could say "My handwriting's a bit rusty" and be understood; "I got rusted fingers" will prompt the person you're talking to to fetch the oil can.
    – Erik Kowal
    Dec 24, 2014 at 17:56
  • @ErikKowal I understand it isn't an idiom but I heard it before in a similar context. But I will change the answer to something that hasn't been mentioned yet. It wouldn't be unethical, would it?
    – Centaurus
    Dec 24, 2014 at 18:22
  • I think 'rusty' is quite good. Could you put it up so I can accept it? Dec 26, 2014 at 4:12

If you use the phrase "penmanship atrophy" I'm sure you'll be understood. In fact, in the 21st century, there is epidemic cultural penmanship atrophy. (Put that in your pipe and smoke it.)

  • Does feel more technically accurate, but maybe not as colorful as "rusty" above. Jan 13, 2017 at 15:10

Numbness of the thumb, index, middle/ring finger.


Sounds quite a bit like agraphia:

Agraphia is an acquired neurological disorder causing a loss in the ability to communicate through writing, either due to some form of motor dysfunction or an inability to spell.

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