not lift a finger

(redirected from one doesn't lift a finger)

not lift a finger

To not do anything at all; to not take any action. Typically due to refusal or unwillingness. I am not lifting a finger until you kids start doing your fair share of the housework. The government has made it clear that it won't life a finger to help with the conflict in the region. He hasn't lifted a finger since he got here. He's been no help at all.
See also: finger, lift, not
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

not lift a finger (to help someone)

 and not lift a hand (to help someone)
Fig. to do nothing to help someone. (The someone is anyone with the negative.) They wouldn't lift a finger to help us. Can you imagine that they wouldn't lift a finger? Sally refused to lift a hand to help her own sister.
See also: finger, lift, not
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

not lift a finger

Refuse to exert oneself to help or perform an action. For example, Dad won't lift a finger to help them financially, or Early in the war, America officially would not lift a finger. [Mid-1900s]
See also: finger, lift, not
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

not lift a finger


not raise a finger

COMMON If someone does not lift a finger or does not raise a finger to do something or to help someone, they do not do anything. This Chancellor refuses to lift a finger to help working men and women. I'm the one who has to clean it all up. She wouldn't lift a finger if I didn't beg her. What kind of people are we to accept his kind of behaviour without raising a finger to prevent it? Note: This expression is used to criticize people for not doing anything.
See also: finger, lift, not
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

lift a finger, he/she doesn't/won't

Refusing to exert oneself in the slightest. This hyperbole has an ancient ring to it, but the earliest citation in the OED is to David Garnett’s The Flower of the Forest (1955): “Could anyone honestly say that we should have allowed Paris to be occupied and France defeated without lifting a finger?”
See also: he, lift, she
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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