Green thumb

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6 comments on this post.
  1. Dave:

    It is my understanding that the term “Green Thumb” comes from gardeners who often didn’t have access to clean their hands after working in the soil, and often because of bacteria and fungus in the soil, often a person who spent much of their time working with the soil often got a fungus under the nail(s) of their hands, and in particular their thumbs, hence the term “GREEN THUMB”.

    I think I heard this explination on HGTV, as a question asked by a viewer.

    I do NOT have any “proof” of this but it sure sounds plausible to me.

  2. Yael:

    It sounds much less plausible than the explanation in the article. The story seems much too detailed, too particular; and also, it does not explain why ‘green thumb’ is a term of praise for a *good* gardener (is a gardener without fungus-ridden fingers necessarily a worse one?).

  3. Tea in England | Teatime in the Garden (Centre):

    […] know why British gardeners get five fingers and American gardeners only get a thumb, but The Word Detective thinks he knows.) Anyway, I’m no gardener (I can kill a silk plant. Can you?), but folks here […]

  4. Proud Green Digits | Wellness by Nature's Design:

    […] Back to thoughts on the movie.  I found myself wondering about the etymology of “greenthumb” and “greenfingers” and stumbled upon some interesting information.  Read about it here. […]

  5. Sunflowaah:

    I thought to wonder why this morning after watering my gardens – because I sometimes forget to put my spray nozzle on (often to lazy to) and use my thumb to spread the water. I have a callous from this, on my prominent hands thumb…and it has a green tint from gardening daily. I literally have a green calloused thumb. :/

  6. Gardens Galore! | Occasionally Thoughtful:

    […] grow flowers, vegetables, herbs or plants without a  ”green thumb” – which was green fingers back in the 1930s when the phrase first began to be used. Beginners should brush up on the basics, […]

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