lǽce-finger
Morphological Analysis
Wordclass: Noun
Gender: Masculine
In the OE text, the length is:indicated by acute accentsindicated by macronsnot indicated.
lǽce-finger
es; m. The leech-finger, the fourth finger [though in one gloss it seems to be the little-finger] Þuma pollex, scytelfinger index, middelfinger medius, lǽcefinger medicus, eárefinger auricularius, Wrt. Voc. 71, 30-34. At p. 44,7-8 the names are different :-- Goldfinger medicus vel annularis, lǽcefinger auricularis, Ælfc. Gl. 73; Som. 71, 22. Sing on ðíne lǽce-finger paternoster, Lchdm. i. 394, 2. [In later times it was the fourth finger e.g. Halliwell in his Dictionary quotes from a MS. of the 15th cent.
like a fyngir has a name, als men thaire fyngers calle,
The lest fyngir hat litye man, for hit is lest of alle;
The next fynger hat leche man, for qwen a leche dos oȝt,
With that fynger he tastes all thyng howe that hit is wroȝt.
In Prompt. Parv. P. 291 note the reason for the name is given differently. 'The fourth finger was called the leech finger, from the pulsation therein found, and supposed to be in more direct communication with the heart, as in the tract attributed to Joh. de Garlandiâ ... it is said 'Stat medics [medylle fyngure
] media, medicus [leche fyngure] jam convenit [accordyt] egro.' See too in the same writer's Dictionarius, Wrt. Voc. p. 121, 35 'medicus dicitur digitus eo quod illo medici imponunt medicinam.' Cf. Icel. læknis-fingr.]
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