also finger-print, 1834, from finger (n.) + print (n.). Attempts to classify fingerprint types as a means of identification began in the 1820s; the current arch-loop-whorl system was introduced by Francis Galton in 1892. Admissibility as evidence as valid proof of guilt in murder trials in U.S. was upheld in 1912. From 1900 as a verb. Related: Fingerprinted; fingerprinting.
updated on September 02, 2016