“Cross Your Fingers”


Reverend Kenney heard this proverb from her mother and other women near her mother’s age as she was growing up (first at around the age of 6).

Quoted from Reverend Kenney

”There’s two different stories for the same phrase while I was growing up. I heard the first when I was 6, from my mother and other adults I knew, mostly women who were near her age. Whenever you hoped that something would happen, the women would say “cross your fingers that ____”, and the person being told this would say “I’ll cross my fingers for you” “

“I don’t remember hearing it from people other than from women her age. But, I also grew up hearing a second phrase. I heard from kids my own age, when I was 7 or 8, that whenever you are going to tell a lie, that if you cross your fingers behind your back and tell the lie, nobody will catch you.”

“Last time I saw that was a couple of weeks ago. I have a grandson who’s in elementary schools. I was wondering what one of his hands was doing behind his back. I asked him and his face got all red. He said “I have my fingers crossed”. When I asked why he replied, “Well, because I’m telling you a lie and I don’t want you to find out.” “

Collector’s Comments

During elementary school, I heard from various classmates that you cross your fingers behind your back to tell a lie. However, we did not really acknowledge that you would not be caught. The crossing of fingers simply meant to us that someone was telling a blatant lie or joking with you if they had the fingers crossed behind their back.

In addition, I never really heard of the other interpretation of this proverb that Reverend Kenney heard from her mother. It was only on television shows that involve luck (such as Wheel of Fortune) that I would see people cross their fingers that they would have good fortune.