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Where did the idiom "an mhéar fhada" (postpone) come from?

I just can't see any way to relate the long finger to delaying of events. Can anybody shed some light? :(
Thanks in advance though. :)

For learning: Gaelic (Irish)
Base language: English
Category: Language


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    Hi Green,
    It's a little bit silly, but I always imagined it like keeping something from advancing on you by poking it away with a really long finger. Like fending off a wild animal with a long stick or something like that. Hope that helps and that I haven't confused you further!

    The complete phrase is "rud a chur ar an mhéar fhada" - to put something on the long finger. I wasn't sure what the origins of the phrase were, so I did some research and found this:

    "its an Irish expression meaning 'to postpone indefinitely', and I think comes from the custom of wearing a ring on the index finger of your left hand if you are not enagaged or married, on the second (long) finger if you are engaged, on the third (ring)finger if married, and on the little finger if entirely disinclined." (

    I don't know if it's the real origin, but for want of any better explanation it may have to do you for now. I'll let you know if I find out anything else about it.

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