7. point the finger at (one) To indicate that one is guilty of (doing) something; to blame or accuse one of (doing) something. This can have the positive meaning of “Okay, you win the argument” or the fairly neutral meaning of “This is too difficult for me”, but it can also have the quite insulting meaning of “I give up with you. In some places, gestures that we use on a daily basis in the U.S. to portray positive emotion or agreement, for example, might mean something highly offensive in a foreign land. Pointing fingers while talking means he/she is aggressive by nature. It is possible for a civil claim to be brought, and/or a private prosecution. Some countries, including England, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa, consider an outward-facing V-sign (AKA a peace sign) as giving someone the middle finger. Learning English He said he wasn't pointing an accusing finger at anyone in the government or the army. We are skewered on the attention of another person and any others to whom the pointing is also addressed. Clap your hands as if someone has done something good such as played the violin well, but do so really slowly. Also provides access to questions Or the "expressway digit," a remarkable single-sign code by which California drivers communicate their complex emotions. It dates back more than 2,500 years and signifies a bull’s horns. The gesture for “Don’t forget”, also involves tapping your head, but with the finger on the right side of your forehead rather than on your temples, and with the finger more vertical. By studying things like the “V sign”, language learners can tell if they are being insulted and in exactly what way, understand the hidden message in British movies, and not accidentally make a bad impression on British people. Hand shakes. " It can be displayed statically, waggling and waving, thrusting with rage, or drooping dispassionately from the hand of a rapper. Put your resting bitch-face away. Like every nationality that I know, the British naturally shrug their shoulders when they don’t know something. and moderators, we have a number of professional volunteer English n. The act of blaming someone for something; the imputation of blame. The chin flick. Peace Sign With Palm Facing Inward. 5. As with the gestures for two and the V sign above, this means it is very easy for foreign people to make the wrong gesture and so unknowingly offend someone. You can also bring down the hammer, show the gun shooting back and/ or make a “pow” noise to make the meaning of the action clearer. Articles about learning, using and teaching the English language, Like the English idiom “It went over his head”, this gesture means that someone didn’t catch something that they should have, e.g. This gesture is fairly neutral if it is aimed at yourself (“Why did I say such a stupid thing? excellent online English training course. This makes it different from the other aggressive offensive gestures mentioned in this article. In fact, this gesture is deemed so bad that you can actually get arrested for using it. This sign will likely get you ejected from any place of business and not welcomed back. All explanations are for right-handed people, but changing hands doesn’t change the meaning. But did you know that not all hand gestures mean the same thing in every country? See full dictionary entry for finger COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. The offensive version of this has your palm facing yourself, meaning the back of your hand is facing the other person. Often used in terms of a person blaming something else. That was never going to work”). It is similar to telling someone to step outside. Like the Devil Himself, the middle finger bears many names and adopts many guises. This means something like “Seriously?”, “Enough already!”, “I can’t believe you have done that (again)” and/ or “You’re so embarrassing”. The gesture represents people speaking, usually meaning speaking too long and/ or speaking about something pointless. To be even more over the top and childish, you can also do the same thing with two hands. This gesture and sound has a range of related meanings in English, usually meaning something like “It’s not fair”, “I envy you” or “I don’t care”. including advice, tutorials, opinions and lesson plans from various This has the opposite meaning of complete disapproval of what you have just heard, e.g. I wish I could just die on the spot”) or life generally (“Three hours with just one student again. Get special free access to our hand-picked deals and expert insider advice delivered right to your inbox. Hold both hands in front of you at about rib height, with the fingers of each hand pointing towards the other hand and the thumb under the fingers. This is about the most aggressive/ offensive gesture in English, meaning basically “f*ck you”, often as a replacement for actually hitting someone. In Turkey, that sign is also an insult toward gay people. Aggravated assault is usually committed with a dangerous weapon. Some people would ignore it, but others would want to make an example of this sort of action. All rights reserved. In contrast, the V sign at a soccer match means something more like the challenge “Come over here if you think you’re hard enough”, “Ha ha ha, you’ll have to do better than that chant if you want to offend us”, or “Ha ha, you can’t get us even if you wanted to (because of the row of police between us)”. 2. Define finger-pointing. Start with your open hands over your pockets and bring both arms up until your hands are over your shoulders, near your ears. Resources and materials for ESL teachers including free ESL handouts What is obscene is decided locally, by the community. I’d rather kill myself than listen to any more”, etc. Is pointing your finger at someone considered assault by threat is 6 months jail time & 1 year a harsh sentence. Activate your free month of lessons (special offer for new This can be used against yourself to mean “Sorry, I completely missed that”, but is much common against or about other people. In Russia, shaking hands, or doing pretty much anything else, over a threshold is considered extremely unlucky. Perhaps while making a “whoosh” sound like a plane flying over your head, move an open hand over the top of your head, close to but not touching it. Aggravated assault is a specific type of assault that occurs when someone commits assault and actually intends to cause serious bodily harm or succeeds in causing serious bodily harm. Fairly self-explanatory. So pointing a gun at someone can get you into trouble, but how much trouble will often depend on why you were pointing the gun and at whom.. And, in some countries it symbolizes lady parts. The item remained part of the Singapore body of law after the Penal Code review of October 2007 that removed most … In parts of the Arab world, the gesture is considered highly offensive, its impact is equivalent to the middle-finger in the West. Hold your open hand in front of you with your palm up and then bend your elbow until the hand finishes up on your forehead, preferably with an audible slapping sound. Hold up your right fist with the back of your hand facing the other person and raise just your middle finger. To draw attention to something. How very original. The gesture is made by putting up a palm facing the other person and turning your head to one side. Yet it is seen as offensive in Greece, Spain, and Brazil. By: Alex Case | The item of legislation was added to the Penal Code in the 1930s. Ads code goes here. (I can’t believe you have messed this up again)” or “You’ve really put me in a difficult position”, but sometimes also at yourself as in “I can’t believe I did that”, similar to the face palm above. English language resources for English learners and teachers to help In order to determine the category the court should assess culpability and harm. This gesture should only be used very jokingly or with caution, because it basically means that person was too stupid to understand or notice. Like those phrases, the gesture is most often used by teenagers about adults, especially their parents. The fig. Whereas the repealed s 5 o the Public Order Act 1936 (replaced by Public Order Act 1986, s 4) was considered the lowest-level public order offence prior to the 1986 Act, the offence Suicide might be a better choice!”). Five fathers. However, shrugging can be taken to mean “I don’t care” and/ or “I can’t be bothered thinking about it” in the UK rather than “I’m afraid I don’t have that information”, and is perhaps the ultimate sign of bad attitude. In the U.S. we use it to convey agreement and compliance. The gesture is widely known to Americans as flipping the bird, or just giving someone the finger. It’s nothing more than the raising of a finger in somebody else’s general direction, yet, for almost everyone, it immediately expresses a huge range of emotions, including hatred, contempt, and anger. 2. UsingEnglish.com is partnering with Gymglish to give you a free one-month trial of this This gesture often goes with the sounds “Nah nah nah nah nah”, as in “Nah nah nah nah nah, you can’t catch me” or “Nah nah nah nah nah, you lose again”. Also includes grammar, spelling and punctuation, through to language teaching, Flicking your thumb from the back of your upper front teeth toward someone is seriously nasty in India and Pakistan and simply means “f*** you.” Very nice. Audience: Teachers links to online dictionaries. A thumb towards your mouth from out of your fist, perhaps with your little finger pointing out in the opposite direction, can just mean “(alcoholic) drink”, as in “Shall we go out for a quick drink?” However, it can also mean “He is/ She is/ You are drunk” or even “He is/ She is/ You are an alcoholic”, particularly if you move your head from side to side and or roll your eyes while you pretend to drink from your thumb. This is not a speeding offence though the request for information related to a vehicle alleged to have been speeding. In addition to the UsingEnglish.com team of staff In Greece, Mexico, the Middle East, and Africa, the action of raising your open hand, palm out, with spread fingers in front of someone is a serious sign of displeasure. It can also have the related but less physical meaning of “Insult me/ my idea as much as you like, I can take it”. Copyright © 2002 - 2021 UsingEnglish.com Ltd. finger-pointing meaning: 1. a situation in which someone is blamed for something that goes wrong: 2. a situation in which…. Feet are seen as unclean and the lowest point of the body. Screw up your face in a frown. In those countries it means that you are calling someone an a**hole. Teachers can understandably be reluctant to get their students thinking about and making (very) rude gestures during lessons, and we hardly want them to start experimenting with offensive hand movements etc outside the class. | Topic: Varieties and Dialects, First Published: 4th Oct. 2016 teaching and reference resources. Learn more. This article goes through the most common rude gestures in the UK, starting with ones which are least likely to be understood by people from other countries. Section 377A is a Singaporean law criminalising sex between consenting male adults. Possibly one of the oldest hand gestures still in use, it dates all the way back to ancient Byzantium, when criminals were chained to donkeys and paraded through the streets, where locals would rub their own feces onto the prisoner. Our online discussion forums are the perfect place to quickly get help You are obviously never going to be able to do this/ You are obviously too stupid to understand”. Crossing your fingers. A pointing index finger raised upwards is used in Islam as an affirming gesture of Tawhid though it has been also used in more political contexts, particularly by groups more extremist in ideology such as ISIS. You show the other person the letter L from the word “loser” with the thumb and index finger of your right hand on your forehead, with the thumb horizontal and the index finger vertical. The cutis. (1) Every person commits an offence who, without lawful excuse, points a firearm at another person, whether the firearm is loaded or unloaded. This is the closest thing to a specifically British gesture, being used in only a couple of other countries and being misunderstood and misused even by Americans. However, it can be both interesting and useful to know about the more aggressive sides of body language. In Thailand, the raised arm with three fingers extended (like the gesture used in The Hunger Games) was outlawed after it became a symbol of opposition to the country’s military coup in 2012. It will not get you a positive reaction in most parts of southern Europe or Brazil, and it’s used commonly by soccer fans wanting to send an offensive message to the fans of the opposing team. 3. finger-pointing synonyms, finger-pointing pronunciation, finger-pointing translation, English dictionary definition of finger-pointing. © 2021 Shermans Travel. 4. Three-fingered salute. It's swearing, so if you did it to a police officer, you'd be committing an offence. It is mainly used by kids, but adults sometimes use it ironically, for example if I finally got to work before you and so got the best desk by the window. “The Bird,” “The Finger,” “Half of a Peace Sign,” “The Freeway Salute.” Whatever you call it, it’s a strange thing. This obviously means “What can I do?”, often aimed at the other person as in “What can I do with you? The court should determine the offence category with reference only to the factors listed in the tables below. Pinch together the thumb and index finger of your right hand and place it at the left edge of your closed mouth. In India, one of the worst things you can do socially is to show a person the soles of your feet or use your feet to point to or touch things. In Austria, shaking two fists in front of you is a way of wishing someone good luck. In the U.S. we use it to convey agreement and compliance. Often in criminal law, why you do something matters just as much (if not more) than what you do. 6. Brushing the back of your hand underneath your chin in a flicking motion means “get lost” in Belgium, northern Italy, and Tunisia. If you want to learn English grammar or grow your vocabulary then these resources will help you with your studies. The placement of your fingers to show horns, usually known as the symbol for “rock on,” has a different meaning in Spain, Greece, and Italy — where it is called the “corna” and is considered a suggestive gesture made to a man to imply that his wife is cheating on him. 3. | Last Edited: 25th Jan. 2019. terms, irregular verbs, phrasal verbs and idioms. Always bend slightly when meeting or greeting an Indonesian older than you or in a position of authority. This word can mean that the other person lost at a game or sport, but it can also mean that they did something that was a waste of time, not cool, etc, for example playing computer games all Friday night instead of going clubbing. Giving someone the finger can be considered an obscene gesture in some parts of the USA. learning English. 1. Pointing with index finger may be used to indicate an item or person. Come on over. Beware of protruding fingers. Forearm jerk. Looking at someone the wrong way can be interpreted as disrespectful. A clenched fist with your thumb between your first and second fingers means “screw you” (to put it mildly) in Turkey, Russia, and Indonesia. It is therefore usually used in reaction to something that the other person has done or said, for example if they won and you lost, if they got something which you didn’t, if they knew something that you got wrong, or if they thumbed their nose at you (see above). Please note that it is difficult to explain the meanings of offensive gestures without using some rude words, so this article will not be suitable for everyone. 17. It is because the pointing finger prods at a vulnerability we all share. English language reference including definitions of English grammar career development, specialisations, and ideas and suggestions for Even if you don't mean anything negative by it, pointing at someone or something with only one finger is considered very rude and impolite in parts of the Middle East. Arab and Caribbean countries see the action of pointing your right index finger and the grouped finger tips of your left hand as a way of saying, “you have five fathers.” Or, in harsher terms, “your mother is promiscuous.". Test your knowledge of the English language. Download our compiled lists of idioms - perfect to use offline for reference or for use in class! Thumbing your nose at someone (childish insult). Pointing with the index finger. I would say that the middle finger is more direct and aggressive, and that the V sign is more taunting, defiant or cheeky. This means “What an obviously stupid thing to say or do”, often aimed at yourself (as in “I can’t believe I just did that”) but sometimes at other people (as in “You idiot. Crossing your arms in front of you is considered a huge sign of arrogance in Finland. So, next time you're traveling to one of these countries and you are trying to order two of something, make sure that your palm is facing outward. Standing with this posture in a bar is likely to get you into a fight. This is a fairly obviously a sign for “wanker”, which literally has the sexual meaning of a man who masturbates. Touch your right and left sides of your forehead with the thumb and fingers of your right hand respectively, and massage your head as if you are thinking deeply, are troubled or have a headache. However, there are also more general articles on this topic on this site with the titles “80 British gestures” and “British body language”, available here: https://www.usingenglish.com/articles/80-british-gestures.html, https://www.usingenglish.com/articles/british-body-language.html. This usually means “I/ You/ He choked”, meaning got too nervous and messed something up, e.g. This offence will get them deported. If you point the finger at someone or point an accusing finger at someone, you blame them or accuse them of doing wrong. One of the main problems travelers face is communicating with the locals. It is a teasing or provoking gesture, like a very mild version of the V sign. Even if you never leave home without your trusty phrase book, communication is as much about nonverbal cues as it is about talking. This is the action of punching your fist into your elbow joint while raising the other fist up in front of you. tips, exam tips and help with study skills. If adults use this gesture it can seem quite immature and so reflect at least as badly on the person making the gesture as on the person being gestured about. It often has the connotation that the person who gave the order doesn’t really have the authority to do so or that they should have asked you more politely, like saying “Who made you the boss?” or “I’ll do it, but I’ll get you back for it later”. Someone good luck doing the gesture is known as la barbe ( ” the beard ” ) or generally... Obviously never is finger pointing an offence to be brought, and/or a private prosecution others want! 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