The ring finger is the fourth digit of the human hand, and the second most ulnar finger, located between the middle finger and the little finger. It is also called digitus medicinalis, the fourth finger, digitus annularis, digitus quartus, or digitus IV in anatomy.
According to László A. Magyar, the names of the ring finger in many languages reflect an ancient belief that it is a magical finger. It is named after magic or rings
, or called nameless
- The medical finger. Some cultures named it after its supposed magic power, especially the healing power. An example of the idea of its healing power is Bhaisajyaguru, the Medicine Buddha, who uses his right ring finger for medicine.
The ring finger. Some cultures associated it to magic rings. This is particularly common in European languages.
- English: leech finger
- Japanese: 薬指 kusuri-yubi (medicine finger)
- Korean: 약지 yak-ji (medicine finger)
- Latin: digitus medicinalis (medical finger)
The nameless finger. Many cultures avoided the true name of a powerful entity, and called it indirectly or called it nameless.
- Albanian: gishti i unazës (ring finger)
- Catalan: dit anular (ring finger)
- Cornish: bys-bysow (ring finger)
- Croatian: prstenjak (ring finger)
- Czech: prsteníček (ring finger)
- Danish: ringfinger (ring finger)
- Dutch: ringvinger (ring finger)
- English: ring finger
- French: annulaire (ring finger)
- German: Ringfinger (ring finger)
- Hungarian: gyűrűsujj (ring finger)
- Icelandic: baugfingur (ring finger)
- Irish: méar fáinne (ring finger)
- Italian: dito anulare (ring finger)
- Latin: digitus annularis (ring finger)
- Latvian: zeltnesis (gold carrier)
- Malay: jari manis (sweet finger)
- Norwegian: ring(e)finger (ring finger)
- Persian:'انگشت انگشتری' (ring finger)
- Polish: palec serdeczny (lit. cordial finger, etymology is from "heart" - in Polish "serce" which means "heart", because it's rather "finger of heart") (ring finger)
- Portuguese: dedo anelar (ring finger)
- Romanian: degetul inelar (ring finger)
- Slovak: prstenník (ring finger)
- Spanish: dedo anular (ring finger)
- Swahili: cha pete (of the ring)
- Swedish: ringfinger (ring finger)
- Tamil: Mothira Viral (ring finger)
- Turkish: Yüzük parmağı (ring finger)
In other languages this finger takes its name from its place between the other fingers.
- Bulgarian: безименен пръст (nameless finger)
- Cantonese: 無名指 mo ming ji (nameless finger)
- Finnish: nimetön (sormi) (nameless finger)
- Japanese: 名無し指 nanashi-yubi (nameless finger)
- Lithuanian: bevardis (nameless)
- Mandarin: 無名指/无名指 wú míng zhǐ (nameless finger)
- Persian: binàme (nameless)
- Russian: bezymyannyi palets (nameless finger)
- Sanskrit: anámika (nameless)
- Tatar: atsyz parmak (nameless finger)
- Ukrainian: безіменний палець (nameless finger)
- Latin: digitus medio proximus (the finger next to the middle)
- Greek: παράμεσος paramesos (para = next to + mesos = in the middle: the finger next to the middle finger)
- Serbian: domali prst (the finger next to the little)
The wedding ring
In Western cultures a wedding ring is traditionally worn on the ring finger. This developed from the Roman "annulus pronubis" when the man gave a ring to the woman at the betrothal ceremony. According to tradition in some countries (derived from Roman belief), the wedding ring is worn on the left ring finger because the vein in the left ring finger, referred to as the vena amoris was believed to be directly connected to the heart, a symbol of love.
Blessing the wedding ring and putting it on the bride's finger dates from the 11th century. In medieval Europe, the Christian wedding ceremony placed the ring in sequence on the index, middle, and ring fingers of the left hand, representing the trinity — God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit respectively. The ring was then left on the ring finger. In a few European countries, the ring is worn on the left hand prior to marriage, then transferred to the right during the ceremony. For example, a Greek Orthodox bride wears the ring on the left hand prior to the ceremony, then moves it to the right hand after the wedding. In England, the 1549 Prayer Book declared "the ring shall be placed on the left hand". By the 17th and 18th centuries the ring could be found on any finger after the ceremony - even on the thumb.
In Norway, Russia, Bulgaria, Poland, Austria, Denmark, Latvia, some countries of former Yugoslavia and in Spain (except in Catalonia) the wedding ring is worn on the ring finger on the right hand.
In the Jewish wedding ceremony, the groom places the ring on the bride's index finger, and not ring finger; the ring is usually moved to the ring finger after the ceremony.
In the Indian tradition, the left hand is considered inauspicious. Hence the wedding ring is worn on the right hand. However, despite tradition, some wear the ring on the left hand, matching cultural practice
in some western countries.
- There is some evidence that the ratio between the lengths of the index finger and the ring finger may be modulated by androgen exposure in the uterus.
- It is the weakest of the fingers on the hand, as it shares a flexor muscle with the middle and little fingers. It is the only finger that cannot be fully extended by the majority of people, in itself separately.