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Thumb twiddling is an activity that is done with the hands of an individual whereby the fingers are interlocked and the thumbs circle around a common focal point, usually in the middle of the distance between the two thumbs.
While it is an expression of at least a moderate amount of manual dexterity, thumb twiddling is frequently used as an example of a useless, time-wasting activity.
Thumb twiddling is considered to be one of several useless activities such as opening and closing doors and checking to see if a lock is bolted tight. It's reported that thumb twiddling is common in individuals with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). Thumb twiddling may be a result of nervousness, anxiety, boredom or habit.
Thumb twiddling can be used as a simple test for manual dexterity.
- Hayes, Justin Cord. 747 Things to Do on a Plane: From Lift-off to Landing, All You Need to Make Your Travels Fly By. F+W Publications, Inc., 2008.
- "The fine art of Thumb Twiddling". Soph Laugh, 2011-2016.
- O'Sullivan, Joanne. I Don't Care If We're There Yet: The Backseat Boredom Buster. Sterling Publishing Co Inc, 2008, p. 19.