Finger Pointing or Pointing Finger – Meaning and Examples

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Ever been caught in a flurry of finger-pointing? It’s not a surprise dance move or an odd party game, but it’s an expression that many of us use daily. What does it actually mean, and are we using it right? Let’s figure it out together, shall we?

What’s the Definition of Finger-Pointing?

Finger Pointing or Pointing Finger – Meaning and Examples

Finger-pointing is not about a judgmental fitness instructor showing you how to do your squats correctly. No, it’s a metaphorical term we use when we want to describe a situation where someone is laying blame or assigning guilt. When people point fingers, they’re usually trying to shift responsibility off themselves and onto others.

It happens with kids all the time, in a less serious way. When two or more kids get caught doing something bad or acting out, they’re all super quick to point fingers and say, “It wasn’t me!”

Using the Right Punctuation

The term finger-pointing is considered a hyphenated noun, so you should always combine the two words with a hyphen when writing.

Different Tenses to Use

While we’re here, why don’t we explore the different tenses of this idiom? Finger-pointing or pointing fingers can take various forms depending on the context you need to use.

  • Point (Present tense): People usually point fingers when they want to avoid responsibility.
  • Pointed (Past tense): They pointed fingers at each other, blaming one another for the chaotic mess that had erupted in their midst.
  • Points (Third-person singular): She always points fingers at others when things go wrong.
  • Pointing (Present participle/Gerund): Pointing fingers won’t help us solve this problem.

Origin and Etymology Behind the Idiom Pointing Fingers

Pointing Fingers Ngram
Pointing fingers usage trend.

Ever wondered why we point fingers? The origin of this phrase isn’t totally clear. However, it seems to draw from the very human and universal gesture of literally pointing one’s finger to indicate blame or make a gesture of direction. This idiom began appearing in English texts in the 16th century, taking off in the 1700s and has remained popular ever since.

Synonyms for Pointing Fingers

  • Assigning blame
  • Accusing
  • Implicating
  • Passing the buck
  • Shifting blame
  • Blaming

Pointing Fingers and Finger-Pointing Examples in a Sentence

Finger Pointing or Pointing Finger – Meaning and Examples 1

  • There’s a lot of finger-pointing going on, but no solutions are being proposed.
  • When the project failed, he immediately pointed his finger at his colleague.
  • She hates when people point fingers without understanding the situation.
  • There was a lot of finger-pointing after the scandal was revealed.
  • The politician was quick to point the finger at his rivals.
  • Stop pointing fingers and just take some responsibility for your actions.
  • After the team lost the match, there was immediate finger-pointing among the players.
  • She pointed the finger at her brother for breaking the vase.
  • The committee is done with the finger-pointing and wants to focus on solutions.
  • He has a habit of pointing his finger whenever things go south.

The Point Is…

To sum it up, pointing fingers means blaming others. So the next time you’re quick to assign blame, take a pause and remember this idiom’s true meaning. It might just save you some unnecessary drama. Now, isn’t that a point worth noting?