Finger-pointing and point the finger

The expressions finger-pointing and point the finger are idioms. We will examine the meaning of the common sayings finger-pointing and point the finger, where they came from, and some examples of their idiomatic usage in sentences.

Finger-pointing means to accuse someone of wrongdoing, to assign blame to someone, to indicate someone’s guilt. Usually, finger-pointing is considered counterproductive because energy is put into making sure one is not found responsible for a problem rather than finding a solution to that problem. Finger-pointing is a hyphenated noun; point the finger is a verb phrase. Related phrases are points the finger, pointed, the finger, pointing the finger. The image is of gesticulation, expressing one’s idea through nonverbal communication rather than spoken words, by hand gestures in which one points the index finger or forefinger at the object of one’s accusation. The popularity of the phrase finger-pointing didn’t rise until the mid-twentieth century.

Examples

In California and elsewhere, the winners in last week’s election are celebrating and the losers are engaging in rationalizations and finger-pointing. (The Mountain Democrat)

While the Hartlepool manager admits things need to improve, he wants to see less finger-pointing and protect players such as Williams. (The Hartlepool Mail)

When you understand those things, you will have a better idea about where to point the finger at where Elway got it wrong, and how he needed to correct it. (Sports Illustrated)

Barbarians point the finger at RFU over two Covid breaches by 13 players which led to late cancellation of England clash at Twickenham – with stars claiming they had permission to go out (The Daily Mail)