Hi my EF friends,

I just finished translation of the new CSI Las Vegas episode, for my parents and my friends. It was quite easy, except of one little thing....Guys from america, can you explain me your phrase "sticking the thumb in someones eye" ?? Im sure that it have special meaning...According to the examples, which I found on the internet, I'd bet that it means "make a joke on someones account" ..."or not to tell the truth to someone"...Examples from inet:

- He fired the first salvo in 2003 and has been sticking his thumb in Islamist eyes ever since

- Mr. McCain, who has delighted in sticking his thumb in the eye of mainstream Republicans ...

- George Bush is sticking his thumb in the eye of his base," says Mark Krikorian

Or mentioned situation from CSI episode:

(CSIs found the dead body of a girl in the box. The body in the box was arranged like a body on the funeral...)..CSIs were thinking why...One of them said:

- Maybe the killer's just sticking his thumb in God's eye. Or practicing to be a mortician.

Many thanks in advance for your clarification...

your Regular member ..:-)


As a Canadian, I wouldn't say this is a standard and widely used phrase, because I don't often encounter it.

It just seems to mean "to provoke, to taunt". If I stick my thumb in your eye, it will make you angry with me, and it will show that I am not afraid of you.

Best wishes, Clive
Interesting...I'd never heard this one before.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Thank you very much Clive! I have a similar opinion like you, but confirmation from native speaker is always better...Emotion: wink Personally, what I don't like on English are the phrases, which are not explained in the internet dictionaries. At least, I searched all my sources with fine-tooth comb and I didn't find nothing...:-(

Best Regards

 nona the brit's reply was promoted to an answer.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Interesting...I'd never heard this one before.
Neither had I, but it certainly is descriptive enough to guess what it means.
Persons new to firearms, particularly rifles, have been known to grip the stock with their thumb raised, not down on the stock. Upon discharge, the recoil action drives their thumb into their eye.

I'm trying to learn Brazilian Portuguese....and you can't imagine how many colloquial expressions are widely used and understood by native speakers. Nearly every sentence is peppered with them. And like you've mentioned about the translation apps, they do not translate figuratively, but rather literally...which is of no use unfortunately

Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies

Like how referring to American tribes as Native Americans is sticking your thumb in the eye of nativists by reminding them they aren't actually native. It's inflicting an injury to dignity so trivial they can't respond without looking like the smaller person.