Monday, January 21, 2013


Meaning: the pointing hand symbol F as used in typography, also known as the bishop's fist, pointing hand, mutton-fist*, digit, index, fist or phist. See the Flickr group here for images.

Usefulness: 1 (Manicule is particularly useful as the specific word for this thing; unlike the synonyms above, it has no other meaning. Probably began life as a scribal emphasis - a manual manicule, if you like - so you could always add your own where needed.)

Logofascination: 2 (While the word had been around for a while, manicule was championed in an online essay in 2005, Toward a History of the Manicule. It's interesting, but on the longer side.)

In the wild: Alasdair Gray drew a number of them in his illustrations for Logopandocy; they feature what appear to be the gloriously belaced cuffs of Sir Thomas (see portrait to your right on the blog). Sir Thomas uses manicules in Trissotetras (see below), so Gray has created an image with layers of symbolism which would only be understood by someone who would recognise Sir Thomas' cuffs and a symbol he used in an obscure mathematical treatise - i.e. me.

Degrees: 1 (I think; I'm linking to a symbol so it's complicated).

Connections: manicule - F

Which is used in: Trissotetras - see page 127 here or the image below. The manicule is pointing to the 'resolver', or solution to the equation.

*to be mutton-fisted is to be ham-handed.

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