Is it Rude to Lick Your Fingers?

Everyone has done it at one point or another: one minute you are eating chocolate, or something else that melts easily, and the next thing you know you are licking the leftover tasty goodness from your fingers. 

Maybe you’re aware, and maybe you’re not. But, either way, is it rude? Read on below and find out whether it’s ok to lick your fingers or not.

Is it Rude to Lick Your Fingers?

The act of licking your fingers itself isn’t so much rude as it is unthoughtful when done in front of others. 

If you are in the privacy of your own home, you could lick your fingers from dusk to dawn if you so please and no one would be affected (or think you are rude for it).

But, licking your fingers in front of other people, whether at the dinner table, a restaurant, or the school cafeteria is absolutely unacceptable behavior. 

Further, licking your fingers while preparing food, whether at home or at work, is the pentacle of rudeness.

How Rude Is it?


On a scale of 1 to 10, licking your ringers rates 7 on the rude meter. While it isn’t terribly rude to lick your fingers in general, it is rude to do so in front of others. 

For example, licking your fingers in a public place, or at the dinner table is rude. Licking your fingers after eating a chocolate bar in the privacy of your home is not rude.

The thing is when you lick your fingers in front of other people they start thinking about germs. 

Even more, if you are the one who prepared the food, others may question how sanitary you were while doing so. 

That’s why people may lose their appetite when they see someone licking their fingers.

Why is it Rude?

The problem with finger licking is that you may spread germs. A far better option, albeit a less tasty one, is wiping your fingers off on a napkin or handkerchief. 

Likewise, if you must, excuse yourself from the table (or wherever you happen to be, with other people) and go wash your hands off (rather than licking them in front of others).

Common Questions

What does licking fingers mean?

Licking fingers is a phrase that means exactly what it sounds like: holding your fingers up and cleaning them with your tongue.

The term “finger-licking good” refers to something that tastes so good you want to lick the remaining flavor from your fingers rather than wipe them or wash them off when you are finished eating.

Why do people lick their fingers and hold them up?

When eating something super tasty like BBQ or chocolate, it is tempting to lick the leftovers from your fingers when you are finished.

Holding your fingers up allows you to get a better view of the leftovers (so you don’t miss any).

Are people aware when they lick their fingers?

Believe it or not, some people are indeed unaware of the fact they are licking their fingers. This sort of behavior happens when something tastes heavenly, or the individual is starving.

Other times, folks are well aware that they are licking their fingers but simply don’t care or can’t fight the temptation.