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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.
|Noun||1.||faultfinding - persistent petty and unjustified criticism|
|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"