One of my friend used to bend his thumb backwards. I wonder, is there any word in English to call the nature of thumb bending backwards?


I believe you are referring to "Hitchhiker's thumb"

  • Thanks @tenfour, Now, i've seen the Hitchhiker page in wikipedia, obviously that's what i expected. Accepted and +1 for the help:-) – Vijin Paulraj Jul 21 '12 at 14:58
  • @VijinPaulraj But was your question about the thumb bending backwards at right angles at its top joint or at its base joint (and touching the forearm)? – coleopterist Jul 21 '12 at 18:22
  • @coleopterist: It wasn't very obvious from the original question, but, judging by his enthusiasm here, I believe the O.P. was more interested in top-jointed hypermobile thumbs. :^) – J.R. Jul 21 '12 at 18:29
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    @tenfour Gawd it's called "distal hyperextensibility of the thumb", what's wrong with you – bobobobo Jul 21 '12 at 20:17

A popular term for those with this remarkable talent, not just in the thumb but elsewhere too, is double-jointed, but it's probably anatomically inaccurate.

  • Thanks @Barrie. But double-jointed closely related to hypermobility. Is there any word that only specify the bend of thumb? – Vijin Paulraj Jul 21 '12 at 9:41
  • Sorry, none that I know. – Barrie England Jul 21 '12 at 9:44
  • Yeah, you call it a double-jointed thumb :) – Arlen Beiler Jul 21 '12 at 20:07

In addition to the term double-jointed, you could use the term loose joints. The medical community uses the word hypermobility to explain this condition, which includes the ability to "bend your thumbs to your forearms."

From medicinenet.com:

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Like Barrie, I don't know of any term related specifically to the thumb, but I did find more than 9,000 hits on Google for "hypermobility of the thumb," and 1,200 for "hypermobile thumb," including some from medical literature.

  • Could we really call that as an "ability" ('includes the ability to ...')? It seems to me like an abnormal "disfunction". – user19148 Jul 21 '12 at 10:22
  • @Carlo_R.: ability (n.): the capacity to do something. Yup, you can call it an ability :^) – J.R. Jul 21 '12 at 10:31
  • Lol, then I'm going to vote up your answer. – user19148 Jul 21 '12 at 10:33
  • @Carlo: I'm no doctor, so I won't say this emphatically, but I think hypermobile thumb might be the best the O.P. will be able to get. BTW, thanks for the "thumbs-up." – J.R. Jul 21 '12 at 10:36

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