Tag Archives: character traits

Fingernails of Destiny: 1887, 1891, 1900

fortune telling hand

The Language of Nails.

[Baltimore News]

He who has white spots on his nails is fond of the society of ladies, but is fickle in his attachments. He who keeps them well rounded at the tips is a proud man. He whose nails are detached from the finger at the further extremities, and when cut showing a larger proportion of the finger than usual, ought never to get married, as it would be a wonder if he were master in his own house, for short nails betoken patience, good nature, and, above all, resignation under severe trials.

Nails which remain long after being cut level with the finger end are a sign of generosity. Transparent nails with light red mark, a cheerful, gentle and amiable disposition. Lovers with transparent nails usually carry their passion to the verge of madness. If you come across a man with long and pointed nails you may take it for granted that he is either a player of the guitar, a tailor or an attorney. He who keeps his nails somewhat long, round and tipped with black is a romantic poet.

The owner of very round and smooth nails is of a peaceable and conciliatory disposition. He who has the nail of his right thumb slightly notched is a regular glutton, even nibbling at himself, as, when having nothing eatable at hand, he falls to biting his own finger-nails. And, lastly, he who keeps his nails irregularly cut is hasty and determined. Men who have not the patience to cut their nails properly generally come to grief: most of them commit suicide or get married. Kansas City [MO] Times 7 April 1887: p. 2


What White Marks and Various Shapes Are Supposed to Signify

A white mark on the nail bespeaks misfortune

Pale or lead-colored nails indicate melancholy people.

Broad nails indicate a gentle, timid and bashful nature.

Lovers of knowledge and liberal sentiment have round nails.

People with narrow nails are ambitious and quarrelsome.

Small nails indicate littleness of mind, obstinacy and conceit.

Choleric, martial men, delighting in war, have red and spotted nails.

Nails growing into the flesh at the points and sides indicate luxurious tastes.

People with very pale nails are subject to much infirmity of the flesh, and persecution by neighbors and friends. The Hocking Sentinel [Logan, OH] 29 October 1891: p. 1

In days when superstition was more prevalent than it is now the shape and appearance of the fingernails were considered to have reference to one’s destiny. To learn the message of the fingernails it was necessary to rub them over with a compound of wax and soot and then to hold them so that the sunlight fell fully on them. Then on the horny, transparent substance certain signs and characters were supposed to appear, from which the future could be interpreted. Persons, too, having certain kinds of nail were credited with the possession of certain characteristics. Thus a man with red and spotted nails was supposed to have a hot temper, while pale, lead colored nails were considered to denote a melancholy temperament. Narrow nails were supposed to betray ambition and a quarrelsome nature, while round shaped nails were the distinguishing marks of lovers of knowledge and people of liberal sentiment. Conceited, narrow minded and obstinate folk were supposed to have small nails, indolent people fleshy nails and those of a gentle, retiring nature broad nails. The Christian Recorder [Philadelphia, PA] 31 May 1900

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil wishes to contribute several observations about finger-nails and character that may be pertinent in this context. They are 1) Nails bitten to the quick suggest either a timorous personality or someone with a guilty secret. Either may be useful to a blackmailer. 2) One can never be too scrupulous about nail hygiene. Scrapings from beneath a victim’s fingernails have convicted many a murderer. A nail brush is as essential a part of the assassin’s kit as his revolver or dagger.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find more fashion hints, fads and fancies.