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Shame, shame

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

In Reply to: 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. 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: