Definition of FINK

FINK Noun and Verb

Fink is a term that serves as both a noun and a verb, carrying various connotations related to informants, betrayal, and cowardice. As a noun, it refers to a person who provides information to authorities or betrays their associates, while as a verb, it denotes the act of informing on someone or betraying trust for personal gain or advantage.

FINK as a noun

As a noun, a fink is an individual who acts as an informant or betrayer, often providing information to authorities or other parties about the activities, plans, or behaviors of their associates or peers. The term is commonly associated with betrayal, treachery, or disloyalty, and may carry negative connotations depending on the context in which it is used.

Informants and Betrayal: Finks may be motivated by various factors, including self-preservation, personal gain, or ideological differences. They may betray their associates for financial rewards, leniency in legal proceedings, or to curry favor with authorities or other influential individuals. In criminal contexts, finks may provide information to law enforcement agencies to avoid prosecution or secure reduced sentences, potentially putting their former associates at risk.

Historical Context: The term fink has historical roots in labor disputes and organized crime, where informants or strikebreakers were often referred to as finks for betraying the solidarity of their fellow workers or criminal associates. In labor unions, finks were individuals who cooperated with management to undermine labor strikes or collective bargaining efforts, often leading to resentment and ostracism within the labor movement.

FINK as a verb

As a verb, to fink means to inform on someone or betray their trust by providing information to authorities or other parties. It involves the act of divulging confidential or sensitive information about others for personal gain, advantage, or self-preservation. Finking on someone may result in serious consequences, including loss of trust, social ostracism, or retaliation from those who feel betrayed.

Ethical and Moral Implications: The practice of finking raises ethical and moral questions about loyalty, trustworthiness, and the boundaries of personal integrity. While some may justify finking as necessary for self-protection or upholding the law, others view it as a cowardly or dishonorable act that undermines the bonds of friendship, solidarity, and mutual trust within communities or organizations.

In conclusion, fink is a term that carries complex connotations related to informants, betrayal, and cowardice. Whether used as a noun or a verb, it signifies the act of providing information to authorities or betraying trust for personal gain or advantage. While finking may serve various purposes, it often carries negative implications and can result in significant repercussions for both the fink and those affected by their actions. Understanding the motivations, dynamics, and consequences of finking is essential for navigating ethical dilemmas and maintaining trust and integrity within interpersonal relationships and communities.

Examples of FINK in a sentence

FINK as a noun in a sentence

  • The students considered him a fink for reporting their cheating to the teacher.
  • In prison, a fink is someone who informs on fellow inmates to the guards.
  • He was labeled a fink by his colleagues for revealing company secrets to competitors.
  • The mafia boss suspected there was a fink in their organization leaking information to the authorities.
  • Nobody trusted him after he was exposed as a fink who betrayed his friends.
  • The whistleblower was hailed as a hero by some and condemned as a fink by others.
  • The undercover agent was seen as a fink by the criminal underworld but lauded by law enforcement.
  • He always kept an eye out for potential finks among his associates, wary of betrayal.

FINK as a verb in a sentence

  • He decided to fink on his friends and report their misconduct to the authorities.
  • She didn’t want to be seen as a traitor, so she refused to fink on her colleagues.
  • The mafia boss warned his men not to fink on each other under any circumstances.
  • Despite the pressure, he refused to fink on his accomplices, remaining loyal to the end.
  • He was afraid his friends would fink on him if he didn’t go along with their plan.
  • The informant was reluctant to fink on his former associates, but he feared for his safety.
  • He felt guilty for agreeing to fink on his brother, but he couldn’t bear the thought of going to jail.
  • She struggled with the decision to fink on her business partner, knowing it would ruin their friendship.

Origin of FINK 

The term fink has a colorful etymological history, reflecting its evolution across different languages and cultures.

  • German Roots: The word “fink” is believed to have originated from the German word “fink,” which referred to the finch bird. This association with the bird likely stemmed from the notion of someone being small, insignificant, or easily manipulated, similar to the finch’s perceived characteristics.
  • Criminal Slang: In American criminal slang of the early 20th century, “fink” took on a derogatory connotation, referring to an informer or a traitor who would betray their associates to law enforcement authorities. This usage likely emerged from the idea of someone who “sings like a bird” or “chirps” to authorities like a finch.
  • Labor Movement: During the labor movement of the early 20th century, “fink” became associated with strikebreakers or scabs—workers who crossed picket lines to continue working during strikes. In this context, “fink” carried a pejorative meaning, denoting someone who betrayed the solidarity of the workers.
  • General Usage: Over time, “fink” has evolved to refer more broadly to someone who is considered untrustworthy, disloyal, or treacherous, regardless of the specific context. It is often used informally to describe someone who betrays confidence or fails to uphold moral or ethical standards.
  • Contemporary Context: In contemporary usage, “fink” may also be used in a more light-hearted or playful manner to describe someone who behaves in a sneaky or underhanded manner, though it still retains its negative connotations.

Through its journey from German roots to its various meanings in American criminal slang, the term fink embodies the concept of betrayal, treachery, or disloyalty, with nuances shaped by its historical and cultural contexts.


  • Informant
  • Snitch
  • Rat
  • Traitor
  • Turncoat
  • Informer
  • Stool pigeon
  • Betrayal


  • Confidant
  • Ally
  • Loyal
  • Trustworthy
  • Supporter
  • Reliable
  • Collaborator
  • Dependable


  • Double agent
  • Deceiver
  • Backstabber
  • Mole
  • Infiltrator
  • Saboteur
  • Sneak
  • Whistleblower

🌐 🇬🇧 FINK in other languages

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