verb (used with or without object), fe·na·gled, fe·na·gling.
verb (used with object), fi·na·gled, fi·na·gling.
- to trick, swindle, or cheat (a person) (often followed by out of): He finagled the backers out of a fortune.
- to get or achieve (something) by guile, trickery, or manipulation: to finagle an assignment to the Membership Committee.
verb (used without object), fi·na·gled, fi·na·gling.
- to practice deception or fraud; scheme.
- (tr) to get or achieve by trickery, craftiness, or persuasion; wangle
- to use trickery or craftiness on (a person)
1926, American English, possibly a variant of English dialectal fainaigue “to cheat or renege” (at cards), of unknown origin. Liberman says finagle is from figgle, phonetic variant of fiddle “fidget about,” frequentative of fig. Related: Finagled; finagling.