1. An impression of the inked bulb of the distal phalanx of a finger, showing the configuration of the surface ridges, used as a means of identification.
See: dermatoglyphics, galtons system of classification of fingerprints.
2. Term, sometimes used informally, referring to any analytical method capable of making fine distinctions between similar compounds or gel patterns; e.g., the pattern of an infrared absorption curve or of a two-dimensional paper chromatograph.
3. In genetics, the analysis of dna fragments to determine the identity of an individual or the paternity of a child.
Synonym: genetic fingerprint.