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I'm trying to write a short post about hand spinners, and one of the problems I have with a hand spinner is that it hits the curve between the index finger and thumb. I can't seem to find any good diagrams with terms for parts of the hand which aren't entirely populated by medical terms, so currently my options are "curve where index finger and thumb meet" and "adductor pollicis" to describe this part of the hand.

The curve where index finger and thumb meet

Is there a layman's term for that part of the hand?

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    Maybe the crook of one's hand. I can't seem to find any research backing this up, but I'm certain I've heard this before. – vpn Dec 21 '16 at 15:51
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    @vanderpn Post that as an answer, it's a good one. – Martin Carney Dec 21 '16 at 16:18
  • What's a hand spinner? ...Obviously I can see what you mean in the picture, but are those generally toys, or is there some application where those are used that I'm forgetting or not aware of? Looks like a fun thing to play with. – BruceWayne Dec 21 '16 at 23:40
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    @BruceWayne They are a fidget toy; they don't have a "practical" purpose, though keeping my hands occupied so I can focus better is actually quite practical. – Martin Carney Dec 21 '16 at 23:42
  • @MartinCarney Yessss, that's what I was hoping it'd be actually! ...Now to find one online :D – BruceWayne Dec 21 '16 at 23:44
48

I've heard it called the crook of your thumb.

An example of me seeing it used this way can be seen in the comic below.

Comic showing how to use chopsticks - Step 1: Rest first chopstick in crook of thumb. Step 2: Hold second chopstick like a pencil. Step 3: Move top chopstick downward to pick up rice. Step 4: Watch as all but three grains of rice fall back on plate. Step 5: Repeat above steps 2–6 times. Step 6: Give up, use fork

  • 3
    I am torn between upvoting your answer (as it corresponds with my own usage) or downvoting your answer because its low quality. My intent is not to offend, but rather to help improve your answer. If you could find another (non-picture) source to include in your answer I think it would be greatly improved. – Lumberjack Dec 21 '16 at 17:23
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    Since it's merely applying a common(ish) term to this bit of anatomy, a straight-up dictionary citation might do; e.g. Webster's: “2 : a part of something that is hook-shaped, curved, or bent <the crook of an umbrella handle>”. Backed up with evidence from “in the wild” that people do apply this term to this part of the hand (i.e., the image) should do it. – SevenSidedDie Dec 21 '16 at 18:25
  • spoon is even better. – Sarge Borsch Dec 23 '16 at 17:59
57

Perhaps you are referring to the web of the thumb.

This sense of the word "web" is defined by Merriam-Webster as

a tissue or membrane of an animal or plant; especially : that uniting fingers or toes either at their bases (as in humans) or for a greater part of their length (as in many waterbirds)

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    +1 This is the answer. In all my life I have only ever heard it referred to this way. – Robusto Dec 21 '16 at 15:52
  • I agree with @Robusto. My result was too medical and not enough of a layman's term. – Hank Dec 21 '16 at 15:54
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    This answer is good, but I think @Mat's answer works better for my use case, even though it's not a single word. – Martin Carney Dec 21 '16 at 16:32
  • This is the first thing that occurred to me, but I thought Mat's answer was funnier. – Malvolio Dec 21 '16 at 21:02
  • @MartinCarney: No, crook is used to describe the elbow. You could use that to describe the thumb, but it would be an extension. – Robusto Dec 22 '16 at 2:39
3

Single-word answer: purlicue.

The adductor policis that you mention in your original question is actually the name of a muscle in that area. According to the Collins dictionary, the word you're after is purlicue:

(ˈpɜːlɪˌkjuː) the distance between one's forefinger and thumb when extended

enter image description here

Etymologically this is of unclear origin, but it appears to be chiefly British (as seen in the other definitions provided by Collins), and probably derives from Scots word pirlie, which means curly, as per the shape of the hand between the thumb and forefinger.

  • According to Collins it's a northern English term. I have never heard of it. But nobody will know what the OP is saying unless they look up the word. It's +1 from me in any case. – Mari-Lou A Dec 22 '16 at 8:19
  • Actually, regardless of what term the OP uses, it seems like there isn't a "commonly-known" word or phrase that would be meaningful to the broader audience of a blog. Thus, he should follow common practice in every academic paper, which is to define any new term or acronym when it is first introduced to the audience: "People often hit their purlicue (the area between thumb and forefinger) when using a spinner." Then it doesn't matter if the audience have encountered the term or not. – flith Dec 22 '16 at 8:36
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    The image does not agree with the dictionary which appears to imply tip of finger to tip of thumb. – Jasen Dec 22 '16 at 8:41
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    my understanding of purlicue is that it is literally the "space between thumb and finger", and hence not the flesh. You can't hit your purlicue, because it's a gap. – James K Dec 22 '16 at 12:47
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    @JamesK Odd that Collins says “distance” if you think it means “space”, but either way it is not the web of skin. – PJTraill Dec 22 '16 at 23:36

protected by Mari-Lou A Dec 22 '16 at 17:47

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