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point the bone




point the bone (third-person singular simple present points the bone, present participle pointing the bone, simple past and past participle pointed the bone)

  1. (intransitive, Australia, dated, in Aboriginal culture) To place a curse on another person by pointing a bone at that person; to curse by performing a magic ritual.
    • 1879, George Taplin, The Native Tribes of South Australia, page xxx,
      It was proved on the trial that amongst the northern tribes a blackfellow who was known to have pointed the bone at another would be pursued for 500 miles, in order that revenge might be taken upon him for the crime.
    • 1930, Géza Róheim, Animism, Magic and the Divine King, 2003, Kessinger Publishing, page 76,
      Among the Arunta the two men, if they wish to punish a man who has stolen a woman, point the bone in the following manner. One man crouches down, huddling himself together with his forehead touching the ground in front of his knees, while the other man takes up the magic implement and standing between the knees of the first man throws the thing with all his force in the direction in which his enemy lives.
    • 1962, Arthur Upfield, The Bone is Pointed, 1976, page 138,
      They were preparing to point the bone at him.
      The act of pointing the bone was, of course, merely a theatrical show, having a psychological effect [] .
    • 2000, Gregory McNamee (editor) Taipan the Snake and the Blue-Tongued Lizard: Mungkjan Folktales, The Serpent′s Tale: Snakes in Folklore and Literature, page 40,
      If he pointed the bone at anyone, that man soon died. If an enemy of Taipan came up to him, he would point the bone at him.
  2. (Australia, by extension) To blame someone.

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