Michele Triplett's Fingerprint Terms ©
A collection of over 1000 terms used in the Science of Fingerprint Identification.

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MBD
7-(P-Methoxybenzlamino-4Notrobenz-2-Oxa-1,3-Diazile).  Yellow dye 
which produces a fluorescent product when exposed to selected 
wavelengths of light; used to visualize cyanoacrylate fumed friction 
ridge detail.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

A fluorescent dye stain used with an alternate light source to visualize cyanoacrylate 
ester fumed friction ridge detail.  Optimum viewing is done with an alternate light 
source (435nm-535nm) and orange or red goggles.

MCP’s
Major Case Prints.

MMD
Multimetal Deposition.  Two step process using a colloidal gold and 
a modified Physical Developer solution to visualize friction ridge detail.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

MRM-10
Combination of Basic Yellow 40, Rhodamine 6G and MBD dyes which 
produce fluorescence when exposed to selected wavelengths of light; 
used to visualize cyanoacrylate fumed friction ridge detail.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

MSDS
Material Safety Data Sheet.  Manufacturers' information concerning the 
handling and use of a chemical.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

5-MTN
Methylthioninhydrin.   A reagent that reacts with amino acids to develop 
friction ridge detail on porous items.

MXRF
Micro-X-ray Fluorescence. A new fingerprint visualization technique developed 
by University of California scientists working at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  
MXRF is a noninvasive method that uses X-rays to detect elements like sodium, 
potassium and chlorine.  This technique was described at the 229th national 
meeting of the American Chemical Society in March 2005.

Maceo, Alice V.
Alice Maceo is the Forensic Laboratory Manager for the Latent Print Detail of 
the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Forensic Laboratory. She has 
worked in the latent print discipline since 1997 and achieved latent print 
certification by the International Association for
Identification in 2001. Ms. Maceo served on the Scientific Working Group on 
Friction Ridge Analysis, Study, and Technology and the General Forensic 
Technical Working Group, both sponsored by the National Institute of Justice. 
In 2004, Alice was awarded Distinguished Membership with the International 
Association for Identification. She is most well-known for her research in 
distortion of latent prints.

Macrodactyly
Congenitally abnormal largeness of fingers or toes.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Magnetic Powder (aka Magna Powder)
Available since the early 1960's, magnetic powder is used to process an 
object with the purpose of visualizing friction ridge detail.  Magnetic 
powder looks similar to regular black powder but contains iron to establish 
a magnetic affect.  It is commonly black but is available in a wide range 
of colors.  Magnetic powder is best used on paper, plastic, glass, and vinyl 
objects (any nonmagnetic surface) and is applied by using a magnetic powder 
applicator.  The advantage of using a magnetic powder instead of a regular 
latent print powder is that with magnetic powder the brush never touches the 
latent print, avoiding possible damage to the latent print.  Also, magnetic 
powder doesn't become airborne as easily as regular latent print powders, 
resulting in less powder being inhaled by the user.
http://www.crimeandclues.com/magneticpowder.htm 07-11-2004

The magnetic powder process was developed by Herbert Leon MacDonell.

See Fingerprint Powders.

Major
A value derived from the pattern types of the thumbs.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Major Case Prints
Major Case Prints are a recording of all ridge detail appearing on the hands, including 
the extreme sides of the palms (the writer’s palm and the grip print), joints, tips, and 
sides of the fingers, and wrist area.

A systematic recording of the friction ridge detail appearing on the palmar sides of the 
hands. This includes the extreme sides of the palms, joints, tips, and sides of the fingers 
(also known as complete friction ridge exemplars).
SWGFAST, Standard Terminology of Friction Ridge Examination 3-23-11 ver. 3.0

See Complete Friction Ridge Exemplars.

Maleic Acid
Weak acid used in an aqueous solution as a pre-wash step for the 
Physical Developer Process.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Malpighi, Marcello (1628-1694)
Pronounced Mal-pee-gee.
An Italian anatomist who worked as a Professor of Anatomy at the University of Bologna.  
He described the patterns on the fingers while doing an overall study of the skin but 
never mentioned their value for identification.  He is credited as being the first person 
to study fingerprints under a microscope.  A layer of skin is named after him, known 
as the “Malpighian Layer”.  Malpighi described ridges and pores in De Externo Tactus 
Organo, first published in Naples 1665 and then later in London in 1686.

See Stratum Germinativum.

Mark
Term commonly used in the United Kingdom and some Commonwealth countries to designate a 
latent print. 
SWGFAST, Standard Terminology of Friction Ridge Examination 3-23-11 ver. 3.0

Masking
Concealing irrelevant information in an attempt to diminish the information from subliminally 
effecting an analytical decision.

Matrix
The formative part of a fingerprint; the substance that is actually deposited by the 
finger and eventually developed, i.e., sweat, foreign material, sebaceous oils, blood, 
etc.
Quantitative-Qualitative Friction Ridge Analysis, David R. Ashbaugh 1999 CRC Press

The substance that is deposited or removed by the friction ridge skin when making an 
impression.
SWGFAST, Standard Terminology of Friction Ridge Examination 3-23-11 ver. 3.0

Maxilon Flavone 10GFF
See Basic Yellow 40.  See Panacryl Brilliant Flavone 10GFF.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Mayer, Johann Christoph Andreas (1788)
During the 1700's, Mayer was the first to recognize that although 
specific friction ridge arrangements may be similar, they are never 
duplicated.
http://www.ridgesandfurrows.homestead.com/scientific_researchers.html 03-08-2003

Mayfield, Brandon
Brandon Mayfield is a U.S. citizen who in May of 2004 was wrongfully arrested as a material 
witness with regard to a terrorism attack in Spain.  His arrest was due to an erroneous 
fingerprint identification made by 3 FBI Examiners and 1 private fingerprint expert.  The 
fingerprint was later identified to Algerian national Ouhnane Daoud.  In November 2006 
Mayfield was awarded a $2 million dollar settlement by the U.S. Justice Department.  The 
settlement also included an apology and an agreement to destroy communications 
intercepts conducted by the FBI against Mayfield's home and office during the
investigation.  The Justice Department added that Mayfield was not targeted because of 
his Muslim faith.

McClaughry, Major Robert Wilson (1839-1920)
McClaughry is acknowledged as the person responsible for implementing the 
Bertillon system in the United States.  In 1887, he implemented this system 
while working as the Warden of the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet.  
In 1899, McClaughry became the Warden of Leavenworth Prison.  After hearing 
a lecture from Ferrier in 1904, McClaughry implemented a fingerprint system 
at Leavenworth.  In 1923-1924 this collection of fingerprint cards along with 
those from the International Association of Chiefs of Police's were merged 
together to form the Identification Unit of the FBI in Washington DC.

McClaughry, Matthew Wilson (6/19/1871-3/14/1922)
The son of R. W. McClaughry and the records clerk at Leavenworth Prison during 
the implementation of its fingerprint system.

McKie Case
Pronounced McKee.
See Errors.

McMorris, John
John McMorris developed the fuming pipe used in conjunction with iodine to develop 
friction ridge detail on porous items.  For a short time it was known as the McMorris 
Fuming Pipe.  He also developed the iodine-silver plate transfer method used for 
recovering latent prints.  He presented this process at the IAI California Division 
Conference in 1936.
http://www.scafo.org/About_SCAFO/scafo_history.html 10-12-2004 

McRoberts, Alan 
Alan McRoberts is recognized as one of the most prominent and well-respected 
latent print experts working in the United States. In 1971, he began his career 
with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and remained there until his retirement 
in 2002. His duties included every aspect of latent print work including 
investigating, comparing, instructing, creating training and procedural manuals, 
and supervising. During his career, he has been extremely active in educational 
organizations. He has been a member of the IAI for more than 23 years, spending 
10 years on the IAI Editorial Review Board and the last 7 years as the editor of 
the Journal of Forensic Identification (2002-2010). In 1991, he was the president 
of SCAFO, and in 1999/2000, he was the president of the California division of the 
IAI. He’s a Fellow of the Fingerprint Society and a member of the American Academy 
of Forensic Sciences. He was also one of the organizers of the Southern California 
Laser Study Group. He has written and presented more than 25 educational papers 
and articles. Mr. McRoberts has been extremely active in setting industry standards, 
including being a member of SWGFAST since 1995. He was the SWGFAST Chairperson 
(2000-2006). 
In recognition of his commitment, dedication, and contributions to our industry, 
Alan McRoberts has been presented with many prestigious awards including the SCAFO 
Distinguished Member Award, SCAFO’s Charles Wolford Award, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s 
Department’s Distinguished Service Award, and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s 
Exemplary Service Award. This is a brief summary of the contributions he has made to 
the fingerprint community.

Medial
At or near the center.
SWGFAST, Glossary 07-28-2009 ver. 2.0

Medial Interphalangeal Flexion Crease
The middle crease on a finger.

Melanocyte
Skin cell that is able to produce melanin and can be found in the basal 
layer of the epidermis.
http://skincancer.dermis.net/glossary/index_html?query_start=51

Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts
See Supreme Court of the United States, Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts.

Merbromin
Reagent used to detect / enhance bloody friction ridge detail; produces a 
fluorescent product when exposed to excitation at selected wavelengths.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Mercuric Nitrate
Chemical used as a clearing agent for silver staining.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Merkel Cells
Sensory receptor cells located in the basal layer of the epidermis. 

Mesenchyme
The part of the embryonic mesoderm, consisting of loosely packed, 
unspecialized cells set in a gelatinous ground substance, from which 
connective tissue, bone, cartilage, and the circulatory and lymphatic 
systems develop.
The American Heritage ® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=mesenchyme

The bone and the dermis are formed from mesenchyme, which is derived 
from the mesoderm in an embryo.

Mesoderm
The middle embryonic germ layer, lying between the ectoderm and the endoderm, 
from which connective tissue, muscle, bone, and the urogenital and circulatory 
systems develop.
The American Heritage ® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=mesoderm 05-30-2003

Metacarpo-phalangeal Crease
Creases that divide the fingers from the palm.

Metal Etching
Technique utilizing acidic solutions or vapors in the development of 
friction ridge detail on select metal surfaces.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Metal Salt
Secondary treatment of ninhydrin developed friction ridge detail for 
visualization (e.g., /zinc Chloride, Zinc Nitrate, or Cadmuum Chloride); 
produces a fluorescent product when exposed to selected wavelengths 
of light.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Methanol (Methyl Alcohol)
Solvent used as a carrier in reagents, dyes, stains, and rinses; also 
used as a cleaning agent.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Method
The specific procedures to complete a process or task.

Methodology
A body of practices, procedures, and rules used by those who work in a 
discipline or engage in an inquiry; a set of working methods
The American Heritage ® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=methodology 02-27-03

A system of methods or procedures used in any field.
Quantitative-Qualitative Friction Ridge Analysis, David R. Ashbaugh 1999 CRC Press

Methylene Chloride
Solvent used in the preparation of liquid iodine. See Dichloromethane.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Methylthioninhydrin
See 5-MTN.

Microburst Method
A specialized form of the Cyanoacrylate method for developing latent prints 
on nonporous items.  This method was developed by the FBI and is designed 
to expose a nonporous item to a large amount of fumes for a small amount of 
time. It involves adding glue to a heat source of over 300 degrees. Once the 
chamber is filled with fumes, the nonporous item is placed in the chamber 
for 30-45 seconds.

Micro-X-ray Fluorescence
See MXRF.

Midlo, Dr. Charles
A professor of microscopic anatomy at Tulane University.  Known for his 
research with Harold Cummins on dermatoglyphics associated with Down's 
Syndrome.  He, along with Harold Cummins, coined the term dermatoglyphics 
and wrote the book "Fingerprints, Palms and Soles" in 1943.

Mikrosil ™
A silicone-casting agent developed by Kjell Carlsson of Sweden.  This product 
is useful for lifting latent prints from textured or curved surfaces. It also 
works well in recovering prints from the deceased.

Minimum Number of Characteristics
In 1973, The IAI Standardization Committee released the results 
of a three-year study.  They recommended and adopted  that "no valid basis 
exists at this time for requiring that a pre-determined minimum number of 
friction ridge characteristics must be present in two impressions in order 
to establish positive identification."  This was based on the fact that 
each print has a unique set of circumstances. 
http://www.latent-prints.com/iai_standardization_committee.htm 03-21-2003

In 1995, the Ne'urim Declaration was adopted.  It stated, "No scientific basis 
exists for requiring that a pre-determined minimum number of friction ridge 
features must be present in two impressions in order to establish a positive 
identification."  This was a slight change from the 1973 IAI Resolution on the 
minimum number of characteristics needed to make an identification.  

On June 11, 2001, after a 4 year study, the ACPO Fingerprint Evidence Project 
Board abolished the use of the 16 point standard used in England, Wales, and 
Northern Ireland.

Minshall, Lewis Q.P.M. (19??-1980)
In the 1970’s, Detective Superintendent Lewis Minshall was in charge of the 
Essex Police Fingerprint Bureau.  He was a working fingerprint technician, 
not merely a department figurehead, and was awarded The Queens Police Medal 
for his meritorious services to fingerprints.  The National Society of 
Fingerprint Officers (later re-named The Fingerprint Society) was initiated 
in Hertfordshire by the so-called Four Founders in 1974.  They were civilian 
technicians, and expected fingerprint staff from all British police forces 
to join the society.  During the seventies, many British fingerprint employees 
were police officers, and there appeared to be “unofficial” suggestions from 
certain sources that they should not join what was alleged to be a civilian 
organization, perhaps campaigning for wage equality and conditions of service, 
with the potential for strike action.  The Hertfordshire ‘founders’ wished 
the society to solely concerned with fingerprint matters and the circulation 
of new techniques in the journal, and the facility for members all over the 
world to be able to communicate with fellow technicians to everyone’s advantage.  
Mr. Minshall, being a senior police officer, joined the society, realizing the 
potential of a worldwide exchange of information, and he successfully encouraged 
many police officers to join the society.  After his death it was revealed that 
he had allocated monies to be used annually for the presentation of The Lewis 
Minshall Award for outstanding contributions to the discipline.

Minutiae
Small details.
Quantitative-Qualitative Friction Ridge Analysis, David R. Ashbaugh 1999 CRC Press

Events along a ridge path, including bifurcations, ending ridges, and dots (also known 
as Galton details).
SWGFAST, Standard Terminology of Friction Ridge Examination 3-23-11 ver. 3.0

Missed Identification
The failure to make an identification when an identification could have been made.

The failure to make an individualization when in fact both friction ridge impressions 
are from the same source.
SWGFAST, Standard Terminology of Friction Ridge Examination 3-23-11 ver. 3.0

Mitchell, Byron
See United States vs. Byron Mitchell.

Mitosis
Cell segmentation during which chromosomes are split longitudinally 
and duplicated.
http://skincancer.dermis.net/glossary/index_html?query_start=51

Moenssens, Andre A. J.D., LL.M.(Jan 4, 1930-present)
Andre Moenssens is a forensic consultant and retired law professor. He started his 
training and study in fingerprints in 1950 in Belgium under the tutelage of the late 
Major Georges E. Defawe. He joined the International Association for Identification 
(IAI) in 1953, emigrated to the U.S. in 1956 and became a lawyer in this country in 
1966 after receiving the Juris Doctor (JD) degree with Honors in 1966 at Illinois 
Institute of Technology-Chicago Kent College of Law. The following year he 
earned the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree at Northwestern University. 

He was head instructor in fingerprint identification (1960-1967) at the Institute of 
Applied Science in Chicago when T. Dickerson Cooke was its director, and 
associate editor of the Finger Print and Identification Magazine (1960 to 1968). 
In 1967, he began his service as a law professor, has been tenured since 1968 
successively at: Chicago-Kent College of Law (1967-1973), the University of 
Richmond, Virginia (1973-1995), and the University of Missouri at Kansas City 
(UMKC) (1996-2002) where he held the Douglas Stripp Professorship in Law and 
was also a member of the doctoral faculty. After retiring from UMKC and being 
elected an emeritus professor, West Virginia University College of Law invited 
him to be a visiting professor in 2004, 2005, and again in 2006. He had served on 
that factury as visiting professor during 1993-1995 in the William J. Maier Jr. Chair. 

After retiring from UMKC at the end of 2002, he became a resident of Shriner Lake,
Indiana. In 2004, he was elected to membership in SWGFAST and served until 2012. 

He has testified as an expert in several states for the prosecution and the defense 
and has been consulted by lawyers, governmental agencies, and news media on 
forensic issues in the U.S. and abroad. He is the author of Fingerprint Techniques 
(1971) and Fingerprints and the Law (1969), and the senior co-author of Scientific 
Evidence in Civil and Criminal Cases, of which the 5th edition is due to be published 
in 2006. He has written dozens of other books, book chapters and articles on topics 
in the forensic evidence and criminal justice fields. His Criminal Law casebook is in 
its seventh edition and is used in law schools throughout the country. He is one of 
the two Editors'-in-Chief of the Wiley Encyclopedia of Forensic Science, to be 
published in 2007.  He has been the editor of the Illinois Law Enforcement Officers 
Law Bulletin since 1972-and retired from that position in 2006. In addition to 
membership in the IAI, and a member of the editorial board of its Journal of Forensic 
Identification, he has been a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 
since 1966, and served two terms as the Academy's secretary-treasurer as well as in 
a number of other leadership functions. In 2005 he was named a Distinguished Fellow 
of the AAFS. He is also a member of the Canadian Identification Society, The Forensic 
Science Society (U.K.), and a number of legal organizations. He is a member of the 
Indiana Division of the IAI and was previously a member of the Chesapeake Bay 
Division of the IAI when he lived in Virginia.

Molded Print
See Plastic Print.

Molybdenum Disulfide
Chemical used in the preparation of Small Particle Reagent (SPR).
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Monozygotic
Derived from a single fertilized egg.  Used to describe identical twins and 
distinguish them from fraternal twins (dizygotic).  

Morfopoulos, Dr. Vassilis C.
See People v. Kent.

Mottled Skin
Ridge detail is present, but is dissociated due to trauma or genetic 
causes.  It lacks any continuous pattern flow.
SWGFAST, Glossary - Consolidated 09-09-03 ver. 1.0
http://www.swgfast.org/Glossary_Consolidated_ver_1.pdf

Mulvihill, John J. MD
Wrote "The Genesis of Dermatoglyphics" with David W. Smith MD for the 
Journal of Pediatrics, Oct. 1969 issue.  It is said to be one of the 
most thorough discussions of fingerprint formation.  Their findings were:
6-8 weeks after conception volar pads form
10-12 weeks volar pads begin to recede
13th week skin ridges begin to appear
21st week after conception fingerprint patters are complete
http://www.handanalysis.net/library/derm_history.htm 02-27-03

Muriatic Acid
A chemical used to process thermal paper to develop friction ridge 
detail.  Also known as Hydrochloric Acid.

Mutilation
See Perez, George, Dillinger, Pitts, and Roquerre.




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Copyright © 2002-2017, Michele Triplett. All rights reserved.