late 14c., "numeral below 10," from Latin digitus "finger or toe" (also with secondary meanings relating to counting and numerals), considered to be related to dicere "to say, speak" (from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly"). The numerical sense is because numerals under 10 were counted on fingers. The "finger or toe" sense in English is attested from 1640s.
updated on October 13, 2021
Dictionary entries near digit