I've found an article on SE about an double idiom 'finger in the pie/in every pie'. However, the reason I've been searching the meaning of this idiom is another phrase I'd come upon in a book. The very phrase is like,

it is a simple and correct assumption to make that secret society culture is more fingers than pie

The question is: has this phrase something to do with an idiom meant above, or is this a self-standing idiom (which meaning I still cannot find anywhere through browsing).

If this could be of any help, the sourcebook itself was talking about practice of taking part in secret societies in Victorian England (Freemasonry, GoldenDawn, whatever).

  • 2
    I take this to be a play on the fingers in pies idiom and I understand it as the secret societies have many conspirators, but little real conspiracy.
    – Juhasz
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 15:35
  • Yes. Particularly with regard to those groups mentioned, which were largely social rather than political or revolutionary. Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 15:40

2 Answers 2


To "have a finger in the pie" is to be involved in something, often when your involvement is not wanted Cambridge. I suspect that this idiom derives from the "Little Jack Horner" Mother Goose nursery rhyme, which, some sources say, was a reference to a situation where a public official literally reached into a pie that was given him and pulled out a deed to some property, as a bribe.

"More fingers than pie" isn't a common idiom, but it implies that there is more than one hand reaching into the "pie", trying to extract something of value, but there simply is not enough of this figurative "pie" to go around.


I have no reference to support the present contention but it seems so naturally explanatory of this usage, which appears to be a hapax legomenon, that I still submit it to appraisal. The idea of secret societies is that of sharing other's views as well as propounding one's view among would be receptive elements of society, and so to bow to influence but as well to wield it, and if we can concede that the pie has no further extent than the domain of influencing others, "more fingers than pie" would be an image for the state of deriving a meagre power of influence as far as most are concerned (pieless fingers) and having mostly to bow to the influence of an established authority; there is not much of a pie for most of them, they are fingers without a pie.

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