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.
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.
Looking like burning fingers and tied to the next tree,
Large "keep cool" tabs let consumers transport the container from the microwave to the table without burning fingers.
25 [pounds sterling], 500g), the custard is made with cream and can be eaten straight from the fridge or microwaved in its pot which has a card coating to prevent burning fingers.