(THUM.suk.ur; thi as in thin) n. Journalist‘s term for a lengthy story or opinion piece based on a vast, complex topic; a journalist who writes such articles. Also: thumb-sucker.

Example Citations:
McEachran did me another favor when he dropped a memo on my desk that said only "P-E-O-P-L-E." I'd been writing too many thumbsuckers from my desk and he wanted me to get out and talk to real folks again.
—Brian O'Neill, "A newsman who knew how to make his point," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 27, 2002

“I would like to write some things that take advantage of what I have learned. Stuff that has stuck in my head, so to speak. What editors call ‘thumbsuckers‘ but writers call ‘think pieces.‘ “
—Calvin Trillin quoted in Christian Williams, “Trillin Gives Up His New York ‘Journal‘,” The Washington Post, May 19, 1982

Earliest Citation:
A tick-tock (the metaphor, obviously, of a clock moving toward a fateful hour) is often written with boldface dates indicating significant meetings or preliminary events, and is more reportorial than a "think piece" or "thumbsucker,"
—William Safire, "The New Language of Politics," Collier Books, January 1, 1972

Related Words: