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Re: Shame, shame

Posted by ESC on June 26, 2011 at 18:46

In Reply to: Re: Shame, shame posted by ESC on June 26, 2011 at 18:41:

: : Where did the phrase "Shame, shame" with drawing one finger down the other originate?

: I couldn't find anything about it in the few children's phrase books that I have. Online I found: Shame, shame, dirty shame. Everybody knows your name. ("Children's Taunts, Teases and Disrespectful Sayings from Southern California" by Ray B. Browne. http://www.jstor.org/pss/1520614) The phrase is used in the U.S. way beyond the borders of California. About the accompanying "fingerplay," for want of a better word. Could that be some sort of witchy warding off gesture? Just guessing. What I remember is the use of both index fingers -- the right rapidly stroking the left, away from the speaker and toward the object of shame.

It's called a "forefinger rub" (who knew) and is associated with pointing. The gesture "implies a superior position from sender to receiver (the guilty person)." See: http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=373564