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Petty or nagging criticism; carping.
Disposed to find fault; critical.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.



armchair general A person removed from a given situation who thinks he could do a better job of directing it than those actually in charge. Although the phrase armchair general did not come into popular usage until World War II, similar combination forms (armchair politician, armchair strategist, armchair critic) have been in existence since 1858, with armchair clearly connoting a position of comfort and relaxation, remote from the hurly-burly or pressures attendant on those who must act. Consequently the term carries the negative implications of theorizer, speculator, or academician—one ignorant of practical realities, an observer rather than a doer.

back-seat driver A kibitzer; a giver of unsolicited advice or criticism; one who tries to direct a situation which is not his responsibility and over which he has no real control. The term is an extension of the name given to a person, usually sitting in the back seat of a car, who interferes with the driver’s concentration by volunteering unnecessary warnings and directions. The phrase appeared as early as 1926 in Nation magazine.

a jaundiced eye See PREJUDICE.

Monday-morning quarterback One who criticizes the actions or decisions of others after the fact, and uses hindsight to offer his opinions on what should have been done. The phrase is an extension of the name given to football buffs who spend their Monday mornings rehashing the particulars of the weekend games.

mote in the eye See IMPERFECTION.

pick holes in To find fault with, to destroy the credibility or reputation of. The original expression to pick or make a hole in someone’s coat was based on the notion that such a flaw in one’s appearance would damage one’s respectability or standing. The phrase is now used more often to apply to arguments than to persons, though this usage is itself very old.

The lawyers lack no cases … Is his lease long … Then … let me alone at it, I will find a hole in it. (Thomas Wilson, The Art of Rhetoric, 1553)

the pot calling the kettle black Said of a person who criticizes or blames someone else for a failing of which he is also, and usually more, guilty. First used by Miguel de Cervantes in Don Quixote, Part II (1615), this proverb is based on the idea that since both a pot and a kettle are carbonized (i.e., blackened) by exposure to a cooking fire, neither can accuse the other of being black without acknowledging its own blackness. This expression usually implies the presence of an unjustified holier-than-thou attitude on the part of the accuser.

I’ve been as good a son as ever you were a brother. It’s the pot and kettle, if you come to that. (Charles Dickens, The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, 1844)

raise an eyebrow To show disapproval; to register a look of disapprobation or skepticism; to appear mildly shocked or put off. Popular since the early part of this century, raise an eyebrow derives from the fact that such a gesture is often an instinctive reaction, a natural response to being taken by surprise. However, the look of surprise is often tinged with disapproval or skepticism, as if it registered a value judgment rather than an instinctive reaction.

Brown, though he raises his eyebrows a little at the usage, by no means condemns it outright. (G. H. Vallins, The Pattern of English, 1956)

strain at a gnat and swallow a camel See HYPOCRISY.

trigger-happy See IMPETUOUSNESS.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.faultfinding - persistent petty and unjustified criticism
criticism, unfavorable judgment - disapproval expressed by pointing out faults or shortcomings; "the senator received severe criticism from his opponent"
Adj.1.faultfinding - tending to make moral judgments or judgments based on personal opinions; "a counselor tries not to be faultfinding"
judgmental - depending on judgment; "a judgmental error"; "I think that she is too judgmental to be a good therapist"
2.faultfinding - tending to find and call attention to faults; "a captious pedant"; "an excessively demanding and faultfinding tutor"
critical - marked by a tendency to find and call attention to errors and flaws; "a critical attitude"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


Inclined to judge too severely:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Jupiter, indignant at such inveterate faultfinding, drove him from his office of judge, and expelled him from the mansions of Olympus.
Princess Mary as she sat listening to the old men's talk and faultfinding, understood nothing of what she heard; she only wondered whether the guests had all observed her father's hostile attitude toward her.
furthermore, yes, there are some real challenges ahead, but with our collective inputs, and political will, those problems could be solved very easily through constructive advice, awareness, and faultfinding, and must humbly undergo.
Nevertheless, faultfinding keeps us on our toes, or, throws us off-balance.
'With 'Istorya ng Pag-asa,' we want to highlight inspiring stories that touch our hearts instead of fighting and faultfinding ...
He said there had been much discussion of violence by Irish nationalists at the turn of the last century - but the "supremacist and militarist imperialism" of Britain had not been reviewed with "the same faultfinding edge".
"Abilities wither under faultfinding, blossom under encouragement."
The DL850E and DL850EV (Vehicle Edition) ScopeCorders incorporate new features that allow engineers to measure and analyse many signals in real time and speed up development and faultfinding in areas such as power electronics, mechatronics and transportation.
Equally at home with analog or digital PCBs, System 8 Diagnostic Solution Plus incorporates a full range of test instruments in one compact box, with a variety of available test methods, to create a cost-effective solution for electronics faultfinding across a wide range of industries, including aircraft and transportation maintenance, PCB production houses, manufacturing, etc.