Pinky swear

To pinky swear, or to make a pinky promise, is the touching of the pinkies of two people to signify that a promise has been made.

In the United States, the pinky swear has existed since at least 1860, when Dictionary of Americanisms listed the following accompanying promise:

Pinky, pinky bow-bell,
Whoever tells a lie
Will sink down to the bad place [sic]
And never rise up again.[1]

Pinky swearing presumably started 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").[2] The gesture may be connected to the Japanese belief that soulmates are connected by a red string of fate attached to each of their pinkies.

Recently in South Korea, the hooked pinky has been followed by a “seal,” wherein the thumbs touch each other while the pinkies are still hooked.

In modern times, pinky swearing is a more informal way of sealing a promise. It is most common among school-age children and close friends. The pinky swear signifies a promise that can never be broken.[3]


  1. "Pinky". Bartlett's Dictionary of Americanisms. googlebooks. Retrieved 2013-05-25.
  2. Daijirin
  3. Iwai, H . Byōri Shūdan: "Sheishin-Shobō", p. 225. 1963
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.