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fatfingered

verb; compounding
to unknowingly enter the incorrect numbers or value in a calculator resulting in an incorrect output
 
This speaker used this as a creative and memorable way (with the help of alliteration) to suggest to the listener that a careless mistake was made, in particular that the wrong button on the calculator was depressed during computation. What is especially interesting is the imagery and metaphor that the term suggests gives a cue to the word's intended meaning. It analogous to an individual with fingers that are so fat that it is difficult to press a desired button (say on a phone or calculator) without accidentally pressing a nearby button as well, resulting in calling the wrong person or using the wrong arguments for computation.
Etymology : A compound with alliteration composed of the roots fat (from Old English fætt which is a contraction of the past participle fættian-"to cram stuff", finger (from Old English fingor), and the past tense suffix -ed.
Source : "Hmm, our equations are the same, but our numbers are different." "Better check your calculations again, maybe you just fatfingered it on the calculator." -Conversation between two individuals working together on a problem set. (11/06/08)
Last modified: 4 December 2008


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