burn (one's) fingers

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burn (one's) fingers

To suffer an unpleasant or ruinous consequence (especially the loss of money) for some action, often such that one becomes unwilling or reluctant to do it again. During the boom times, countless would-be investors put everything they owned into shady investment deals, and most of them ended up burning their fingers badly.
See also: burn, finger

burn one's fingers

Harm oneself, as in I'm staying away from risky stocks; I've burned my fingers often enough. Some believe this expression came from a legend about a monkey who gets a cat to pull its chestnuts out of the fire (see cat's paw); others hold it is from an English proverb: "Burn not thy fingers to snuff another's candle" (James Howell, English Proverbs, 1659). [c. 1700]
See also: burn, finger

burn your fingers (or get your fingers burned/burnt)

suffer unpleasant consequences as a result of your actions.
1998 Times An American buyer remains a possibility, although it is not entirely clear why any would want to risk getting their fingers burnt twice.
See also: burn, finger
References in classic literature ?
She caught one of his hands in her burning fingers. "Don't distress mamma about me," she said.
Toward the end, Kirke felt the clasp of the burning fingers slackening round his hand.
To sailors, oaths are household words; they will swear in the trance of the calm, and in the teeth of the tempest; they will imprecate curses from the topsail-yard-arms, when most they teter over to a seething sea; but in all my voyagings, seldom have I heard a common oath when God's burning finger has been laid on the ship; when his mene, mene, Tekel Upharsin has been woven into the shrouds and the cordage.
(The Devil knew it well, and fretted it continually with the touch of his burning finger!) But he hid it cunningly from men, and walked among you with the mien of a spirit, mournful, because so pure in a sinful world!
Looking like burning fingers and tied to the next tree,
OUTSIDER Wise Endeavour (R Brown) gubs another gamble in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon with Josh Gifford's well-touted favourite Fair Vulgan (C Dexter) burning fingers.