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Declarative Finger

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"I can see why tiger aphorisms don't catch on."

It seems that a hand gesture involving a character lifting his or her hand, and sticking up the index finger, is often associated with the idea that said character is saying something profound and/or philosophical, whether according to the character, the author, or both. Especially Narm-y if the character closes his or her eyes while doing this, suggesting self-satisfaction.

Often parodied to the point of subversion or even inversion, though.

Not to be confused with Giving Someone the Pointer Finger, a declarative use of another finger, or an admonishing finger wagging.


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    Anime & Manga 

  • The Last Supper: Thomas, the apostle to Jesus's left, is raising his index finger as if to make a point. This could be an indication of his doubt in Jesus's accusation, referencing the doubt Thomas has in The Four Gospels when the Apostles claim Jesus has risen from the dead.

  • In one of his stand-up routines, Gallagher claims that he used to annoy his teachers by constantly raising his hand for questions, to the point that they would only respond to him when he prefaced a question with this.
  • During a skit about how singing the American National Anthem is more about the dramatic tone and physical performance than actually knowing the words, Eddie Izzard suggests repeated use of this trope - "Keep confirming and denying things!"

    Comic Books 

    Fan Fic 


    Folk Tales 
  • A folk tale has a peasant be mistaken for a doctor through a series of misunderstandings. When several scholars visit to test the renowned intelligence of this doctor, he lies in bed pretending to have lost his voice. One of the scholars goes in and holds his finger up, ready to launch into a long speech on how there is only one God. The peasant thinks it stands for "I'll poke your eye out", and responds with holding three fingers out for "I'll poke out both your eyes and cut off your nose". The scholar returns astonished, for as he was about to prove there was only one God, the doctor cut it short with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "Hush" the Scoobie Gang have had all their voices taken away, so Giles does this as Mr. Exposition when making a dramatic point.
  • Fuller House: DJ frequently mixes this with a Finger Wag.
    This finger? It's ninety per cent of parenting.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): In "Is My Very Nature That of a Devil", after Daniel Molloy makes the assumption that "1917 doesn't sound like it was such a bad year," Louis de Pointe du Lac raises his right hand and lifts his index finger to caution the journalist not to jump to conclusions because it was "Rigged to burn, Daniel."
  • Kamen Rider Kabuto: This pose is part and parcel of Souji Tendo's catchphrase, where he points to the sky as he relates a piece of wisdom from his grandmother.
  • Our Miss Brooks: The gesture is occasionally used by the pompous Mr. Conklin.
  • Stargate SG-1 has a humorous instance where the Asgard Thor drops in on an international meeting discussing the Stargate:
    Thor: Senator Kinsey. O'Neill suggested that I send you to a distant planet for your actions here today, but I am reasonably certain his statement was in jest.
    Kinsey: [holds up one finger] I'm sure it was, Commander—
    Thor: [copies the gesture] Supreme Commander.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Calvin and Hobbes has this done frequently by at least Calvin and his dad, and by Hobbes, who provides the page image.
  • Also pretty common in Peanuts, except that there a character would raise his or her entire fist. (Apparently, Charles Schulz didn't realize that this is a common socialist gesture.)
  • Garfield does this a lot, especially when addressing the reader.
  • It's also common in Big Nate, particularly the titular character.

  • "Weird Al" Yankovic does this in the "Dare To Be Stupid" video. Of course, this being Weird Al, he was emerging from a large pot with mashed potatoes in his hair, expression completely deadpan, while proclaiming "Mashed potatoes can be your friends."

    Professional Wrestling 

    Video Games 
  • King Harkanian from the Zelda CDi game Faces Of Evil, does this while saying "mah boi, this peace is what all true warriors strive for!" See context here.
  • Another CDi example, this time from Hotel Mario: "If you need instructions on how to get through the hotels, check out the enclosed instruction book."
  • Henry of Fire Emblem: Awakening does this perpetually, whether he's cheerful, nervous, cheerful, calm, or cheerful. His calm expression really mimics most examples of this trope, though. (Every expression has his eyes closed, save for the nervous one.)


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender, had one when he was impersonating his Uncle giving him sage advice.
    Zuko: How am I supposed to convince these people that I'm on their side? What would Uncle do? [Impersonating his Uncle, pacing and holding up his finger] Zuko, you must look within yourself to save yourself from your other self. Only then will your true self reveal itself. [Dropping the impersonation and getting frustrated] Even when I'm talking for him I can't figure out what he means!
  • Ferb Fletcher of Phineas and Ferb is typically depicted in this pose.
  • The Smurfs (1981): Brainy Smurf does it every time he lectures the other Smurfs.
  • Practical Pig in Disney's The Three Little Pigs. It fits his moralistic personality.
  • The finger point, in fact, was very common in the early days of The Golden Age of Animation, as mentioned on The Illusion of Life. Animators were starting to animate dialogue, and the pointing finger was the most popular way of hitting the accents on the voice track. As their skills improved and found more sophisticated ways of matching the vocals, use of the finger was curtailed as too cliché.
  • Frequently used by Dexter on Dexter's Laboratory.
    • Subverted in the infamous episode "Dexter and Computress Get Mandark!", where Dex puts one up, but doesn't say anything because the child narrator can't think of anything/forgot his line.
  • In South Park, Towelie does this when dispensing towel advice.
  • Used in The Ren & Stimpy Show. Often, keeping in tune with the show's style, the finger will be ridiculously larger and more detailed than the rest.
  • Kennedy Cartoons founder Glen Kennedy was fond of having characters he would animate do this, as seen on episodes of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Tiny Toon Adventures, Darkwing Duck and Goof Troop.

    Real Life 
  • This probably goes back to Plato (the quintessential Western philosopher), as depicted on the famous fresco The School of Athens by Raphael. In fact, Plato's upward-pointing finger is contrasted by Aristotle's downturned palm, which symbolically depicts Plato's abstract view of nature and Aristotle's more empirical way of thinking.
  • Socrates, the philosopher guru who taught Plato, is depicted as this in this famous depiction of his death. Artistically, the painter was making heavy use of lines, particularly the strong lines and right angles of Socrates' pose, for logic and order.
  • Depictions of biblical prophets and apostles often put them into this pose.
  • Fidel Castro, of all people, was caught on camera doing this while scolding fellow Latin strongman Hugo Chavez for his occasional anti-Semitic statements.
  • Bill Clinton: "I did NOT have sexual relations with that woman."
  • Islamic sheikhs and preachers tend to hold their index finger raised and visible while giving sermons, as do devout Muslims during important events where an expression of their faith is suitable. This is intended as an emphasis of Tawhid - the Oneness of Allah - which is one of the most important tenets of Islam.
    • This is also the same reason jihadists regardless of rank tend to hold their index finger up in videos or while making declarations, as they often view themselves as fighting against polytheism. Unsurprisingly the highly-visible use of the gesture among jihadists has caused the wider world to see the gesture as exclusively jihadist.
  • In Cricket, the umpire raising his arm and pointing his finger upward means the batsman is out.