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Many times we tend to use our hands to explain our needs and thoughts.

The same hand gesture may mean something quite nasty and offensive to a person from a different cultural background. Hand gestures are a very important part of the body language gestures. In this article we shall understand what are hand gestures.

What are Hand Gestures? Hand gestures are a way of communicating with others and conveying your feelings. These gestures are most helpful when one is speaking to someone with no language in common. The meanings of hand gestures in different cultures may translate into different things. To explain my point, I take a very common example of former President George W. Bush who had to face a major faux pas during a visit to Australia. He tried to signal a peace sign by waving the two finger or V-sign at the crowd. You may think of this as a simple gesture, but he committed a major error. Instead of his palm facing outwards, it faced inwards. The meaning of this hand gesture in Australia meant he was asking the crowd to go screw themselves! A grave error committed by the then most powerful man in the world. Therefore, it is very important to understand the meanings of gestures before you travel to different countries. Before you communicate with people in different cultures, you need to understand the meaning of gestures. Those considered as a good gestures in one country may be termed as an offensive gesture in some countries. So, if you are a frequent flier to different countries, improve your communication skills by learning the meaning of hand gestures. The following paragraphs contain some information related to the meanings of common gestures. Interpretation of Hand Gestures The following table will cover some of the common hand gestures with their meanings. You will be surprised to know that some gestures that you perform almost casually has a really different meaning in different cultures.

Thumbs Up Thumbs Up Hand Sign Thumbs Up The thumbs up sign in most American and European cultures meaning things are going according to your plans or something you approve of. However, the going good sign translates into a rude and offensive gesture in Islamic and Asian countries. In Australia, it means OK, but if you move it up and down, it is considered as a grave insult.

Thumbs Down The thumbs down sign obviously means the opposite of a thumbs up sign. It is an indication of something that is bad or something that you do not approve of. It also indicates that something or someone has failed. The thumbs down sign is not used as often as the thumbs up sign. This is a rude hand gesture and an arrogant way to indicate failure. Thumbs Down Thumbs Down Hand Sign

Fingers Crossed Fingers Crossed Hand Gesture Fingers Crossed Crossing of fingers is considered as a sign of wishing for good luck or fortune. It also may interpret that someone is hoping for something good to happen. The cross may have originated from the Pagan symbols that means to ward off evil. Many times people cross their fingers before telling a lie, as it is believed to countervail the evil that comes of the lie. It is a positive and negative symbol as it interprets both luck or lies. Stop When one raises the hand up with the palm facing towards the opposite person, it means 'to stop' in America and British countries. In a stop sign, the hand is tilted forward. This means the person is in an authoritative figure and asking one to 'Stop'. If the fingers are pushing down, it will indicate that the gesture is indicated for the person to sit down or settle. This is not a defensive hand gesture and is in fact a gesture to take control over the person it is intended for. If you were to use this sign in Singapore or Malaysia, it would mean that one is trying to 'hail' someone's attention like a waiter or asking for permission to speak. Stop

Stop Hand Gesture

That's Enough

That's Enough Hand Gesture That's Enough There is one common meaning of this hand gesture in different cultures. This hand gesture is commonly used by mothers and teachers. This hand gesture is used to warn a single individual. It is a way to silent an individual and ask them to pay attention. This is considered as a rude gesture in a professional environment and termed as a domineering behavior.

The Moutza While talking to a friend, you may open your palm and stretch out your fingers. But, if you were in Greece, the same gesture would be considered as a traditional manual insult. It means that you are thrusting your hand in the face of the opposite person and using a brash 'na'. This suggests that you are asking the person to 'eat shit' and leave you alone. The moutza in American terms is similar to the hand gesture that means 'talk to the hand'. The Moutza The Moutza Hand Sign

The Dog Call The Dog Call Hand Sign The Dog Call The dog call is a gesture where you curl your finger and summon someone towards you. This movement is mostly seen carried out by a tempting woman to her man. However, do not use this seductive hand gesture in Philippines. This is because this is one of the worst forms of hand gesture that is to be used only for dogs. This hand gesture could get you arrested in Philippines or maybe even punishable by breaking your finger, so that you never ever attempt to try this offensive gesture again. In Asian countries like Japan, the dog call is considered a rude gesture. In Singapore, it is indication of death. O.K

The Okay or A-OK or O.K sign is mostly considered on of the good hand gestures. The hand gesture is used by curling the index finger over the thumb and the remaining fingers extended above them. This means that everything is good, well or O.K. Also, this sign is usually used by divers to indicate all is well or OK as the thumbs up sign means ascending. However, in Latin America and France it is considered as an insulting sign as it is thought to mean 'your anus' and has negative connotations attached to it. In Australia, it means zero and in Germany it may mean a job well done or an offensive insult depending on the region you visit. In New Zealand, this sign is not used much and considered a cheap way of saying OK. In Turkey, the OK sign means one is a homosexual. Okay Okay Hand Sign Finger Snap

Finger Snap Hand Gesture Fingers Snap Snapping fingers over and over may mean one is trying to remember something someone has forgotten. In Latin America, snapping fingers means asking one to hurry up. In Great Britain and America, one snaps fingers when one remembers something or gets an idea. However, in many cultures, snapping fingers close to someone's face is considered to be an offensive gesture. I am Running Out of Time Many times when one is getting late or wants to indicate running out of time, they tend to watch their wrist. This is despite the fact that they may or may not be wearing a watch on the wrist. This is a subconscious gesture to indicate an end of conversation or a subtle way that one should take leave. However, do not attempt this gesture in Middle Eastern countries. It is believed that once a conversation starts, it should be allowed to take its time to complete. Gesturing to end the conversation is considered a rude insult.

I'm Running Out of Time I'm Running Out of Time Pointing Fingers

Pointing Fingers Hand Sign Pointing Fingers In America and European cultures, it is considered rude to point fingers at others. This hand gesture is an indication of a dominant - to - subordinate behavior in the professional world. It is considered a gesture to single out an individual from a crowd. This aggressive signal is not liked by many, as no one likes to be singled out. The Corona

The corona is a hand gesture that is carried out by pointing the index and pinkie finger upwards and the two middle fingers and thumb curled towards the palm. This hand gesture is considered as the symbol of the devil in many cultures. The two pointing fingers indicate the horns of the Devil. This symbol is used the University of Texas to symbolize 'the Longhorn', their university mascot. The corona is also widely used by rock stars in as a positive hand gesture. This is also one of the good hand gestures in different cultures like Buddhism and Hinduism. This gestures means the Karana Mudra used to dispel the evil. In the Mediterranean, it an old symbol that

means 'cuckold', that is, your wife is cheating on you. The Corona The Corona Hand Gesture The Fig

The Fig Hand Gesture The Fig The fig is a gesture that is indicated by a fist. The thumb is seen poking out of the index and middle fingers. This gesture is known as mano fico or fig hand in Roman. This is one of the good hand gestures, as it indicates good luck and fertility and a way to ward off the evil eye. However, the fig is considered a gesture that mimics the female vulva in Italian. Thus, this is a very offensive gesture to the Italians and Turks. If this gesture is carried out by a person of Asian origin, it roughly translates as 'screw you'. Clenched Fist

One of the aggressive hand gestures is the clenched fist. This means one is trying to pick up a fight or trying to warn the opposite person to back off. In some militant groups, a clenched fist is used as a sign of defiance. In Asian countries, a clenched fist will surely land you into a fist fight. Clenched Fist Clenched Fist Hand Sign

The Finger The Finger Hand Gesture The Finger

One of the most offensive and rude hand gestures around the world is the finger. The middle finger-pointing upwards is considered as an obscene gesture. In some Mediterranean and Arab countries, holding the index finger instead of the middle finger, implies the same obscene gesture. You can read more on gestures and their meanings. This was some information related to the meanings of gestures in different cultures. You should avoid using certain gestures in countries whose cultures are new to you. You do not want to offend anyone or anything in a new land that may put you in a soup. While you research some information related to travel tips, be sure you also learn something about the body language gestures too. You do not want to inadvertently insult your guests or hosts or trigger an unwarranted violence in a new land. I hope this article on hand gestures in different cultures has helped you learn some safe methods of communication in new countries. Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/hand-gestures-in-different-cultures.html

Thumbs signal
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search

A Chinese Buddhist monk giving a thumbs up.

A thumbs-up or thumbs-down is a common hand gesture achieved by a closed fist held with the thumb extended upward or downward in approval or disapproval, respectively. These gestures have become metaphors in English: "The audience gave the movie the thumbs-up" means that the audience approved of the movie, regardless of whether the gesture was actually made. Unicode reserves and for these symbols. Other symbols are -b (right hand) and d- (left hand).


1 Origins o 1.1 Opposable thumbs o 1.2 Ancient Rome o 1.3 Actual Roman Meaning o 1.4 Medieval o 1.5 World War II 2 International usage 3 Context-specific usage 4 See also 5 References


The source of the gesture is obscure, but a number of origins have been proposed.

Opposable thumbs
Carleton S. Coon, having observed Barbary apes in Gibraltar using the gesture, hypothesised in the anthropological classic The Story of Man that it is a mutual celebration of having opposable thumbs.[1] Critics[who?] have suggested, however, that the apes may be simply repeating after humans.

Ancient Rome

Pollice Verso (1872) by Jean-Lon Grme is one of the sources of the "thumbs down" gesture in popular culture. Main article: Pollice verso

The Latin phrase pollice verso is used in the context of gladiatorial combat for a hand gesture used by Ancient Roman crowds to pass judgment on a defeated gladiator. However, the type of gesture described by the phrase pollice verso and its meaning are ambiguous in the historical and literary record.[2][3] In modern popular culture, it is assumed that "thumbs down" was the signal that a defeated gladiator should be condemned to death; "thumbs up", that he should be spared. The latter view was popularized by a widely reproduced painting by the 19th-century artist Jean-Lon Grme, whose Pollice Verso (usually known in English as "Thumbs Down") depicts a triumphant gladiator looking up into the stands for the verdict of the crowd.

Actual Roman Meaning

More likely the ancient Roman meanings have been reversed in modern interpretation. It is widely believed by Roman history buffs that "thumb down" was used to instruct the victor "put your sword in the ground and spare the condemned" and "thumbs up" indicated "kill the condemned" by stabbing upward through the throat.[citation needed] Thus "thumbs up" would be a gesture of dread and death. The confusion undoubtedly originated in misinterpreted historical accounts.

Desmond Morris in Gestures: Their Origins and Distribution traces the practice back to a medieval custom used to seal business transactions. Over time, the mere sight of an upraised thumb came to symbolize harmony and kind feelings.[clarification needed]

World War II
During World War II, pilots on U.S. aircraft carriers adopted the thumbs up to alert the deck crew that they were ready to go and that the wheel blocks could be removed. The gesture's popularization in America is generally attributed to the practices of World War II pilots, who used the thumbs up to communicate with ground crews prior to take-off. This may have originated with the China-based Flying Tigers, who were among the first American flyers involved in World War II. The appreciative Chinese would say ("ting hao de"), meaning "very good," and gesture with a thumbs up, which in Chinese means "you're number one." High officials in Chinese government see it as a sign of respect. Any person from China will recognize this numerical gesture, and it can be seen in movies and photos of the era, though this has not been verified in print by American Volunteer Group (AVG) pilots. American GIs are reputed to have picked up on the thumb and spread it throughout Europe as they marched toward Berlin."[4] Combat pilots in the United States and around the world still use this gesture. According to Lus da Cmara Cascudo,[5] Brazilians have adopted the "thumbs up" from watching American pilots based in northern Brazil during World War II.

International usage

A young Somali man giving the thumbs up.

"Thumbs up" traditionally translates as the foulest of gesticular insults in some Middle Eastern countries the most straightforward interpretation is "Up yours, pal!"[6] The sign has a similarly pejorative meaning in parts of West Africa, South America, Iran, and Sardinia, according to Roger E. Axtell's book Gestures: The Do's and Taboos of Body Language Around the World."[6] In Great Britain a thumbs-up is perceived as meaning a few different things from "ok good" "brilliant" people also use it to say hello or "alrite mate" or "watcha mate" they even use it to say goodbye "ok mate see you later" In Iran it is traditionally an obscene gesture, equivalent to the use of the middle finger in the Western world. In Italy, Germany, Greece and Hungary in the right context, it can simply indicate the number one. Generally it is perceived as "Okay". In Russia and Finland the meaning of this expression is "awesome", "good", or "well done". Another meaning in Finland means the same as "keeping fingers crossed". In Australia, a thumbs-up is generally perceived as meaning "terrific". Australian Sign Language assigns this hand shape the meaning "good". In the United States, American Sign Language users use this hand shape to indicate the number ten (10) when wiggled modestly left and right.[7] When held stationary and thrust toward another person the meaning is "yourself".[8] When lifted up by the other palm, the meaning is "help".[9] In Japanese sign language, the thumbs-up indicates a man, or male gender as opposed to an extended pinky indicating female. In India, although the gesture is well accepted, similar gestures have negative connotations:

While doing a thumbs up, if the hand is wagged from side to side in a reverse-pendulum like movement, it means "won't work" or "disagree". Still, the acceptability of the "thumbs up" gesture is seen in the popular soda Thums Up.

In Egypt, Iraq and Israel, it means perfect or very good. It is widely common between people. In Brazil, it can be used in lieu of saying "thanks". In Denmark, thumbs-up generally means "awesome", or "good to go". However thumbs-down is usually perceived very negatively.

Context-specific usage

More recently, these gestures are associated with movie reviews, having been popularized by critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on their televised review show Siskel & Ebert the thumb up meaning a positive opinion of a film; the thumb down meaning a negative one. The trademarked phrase two thumbs up, originally meaning a positive review from both reviewers, has come to be used as an indication of very high quality or unanimity of praise.

A typical hitchhiker's thumbs up gesture.

By extension from the movie review usage, many websites allow users to approve or disapprove of items, such as comments in a forum, products in a store, or even other people's reviews of movies, books, products, etc., by choosing to click either a thumbs-up or thumbs-down button. In the aggregate, this serves as an evaluation system. Other users may then see the total number of thumbs up and thumbs down given to an item, or may simply see the number which is produced by subtracting thumbs down from thumbs up. (In the latter case, an item which has received exactly ten of each would read as having a rating of zero, rather than one of +10/-10.) Often, users may view a list of items in order of popularity, as ranked by this metric. Hitchhikers in the West traditionally use a thumbs up gesture to solicit rides from oncoming vehicles, although in this presentation the arm is generally outstretched with the palm and closed fingers facing the motorist. The gesture is also usually performed with the hand nearest the motorist. In scuba diving, the thumbs-up gesture is a specific diving signal given underwater, in which the diver indicates that he or she is about to stop his or her dive and ascend. This occasionally causes confusion in new divers, who might automatically gesture thumbs-up when trying to indicate approval actually indicating a desire to stop diving and to ascend. In basketball, when a held ball occurs, an official will jerk both thumbs in the air, signalling that a jump ball is in order.

See also