To pinky swear, or to make a pinky promise, is a traditional gesture most commonly practiced amongst children involving the locking of the pinkies of two people to signify that a promise has been made. The gesture is taken to signify that the person can break the finger of the one who broke the promise. The tradition appears to be a relatively modern invention, possibly as a continuation of older finger traditions.
In the United States, tit is most common among school-aged children and close friends and has existed since at least 1860, when Dictionary of Americanisms listed the following accompanying promise:
Pinky swearing has an equivalent in Japan, where it is called yubikiri (指切り, "finger cut-off") and often additionally confirmed with the vow "Finger cut-off, ten thousand fist-punchings, whoever lies has to swallow thousand needles." (指切拳万、嘘ついたら針千本呑ます, "Yubikiri genman, uso tsuitara hari senbon nomasu").
In Belfast it is referred to as a "piggy promise".
In Italy a similar tradition is called "giurin giurello" or "giurin giuretto".
- Radiography of the Upper Extremities. CE4RT. 2014.
- Roud, Stephen (2010). The Lore of the Playground: One Hundred Years of Children's Games, Rhymes and Traditions. Random House. ISBN 9781905211517.
- Roud, Steve (29/10/2010). "The state of play". The Guardian. Check date values in:
- "Pinky". Bartlett's Dictionary of Americanisms. googlebooks. 1860. Retrieved 2013-05-25.
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